Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Rosa, Daniele (Italy 1857-1944)
zoology, evolutionary biology

Rosa had a distinguished career as an invertebrate zoologist (mostly studying polychaete and oligochaete annelids), but he would not be remembered today were it not for his theory of hologenesis ("ologenesi" in the original Italian). Rosa's model of evolutionary process was an orthogenetic one in which species were thought to change slowly on the basis of two kinds of forces: adirectional ones akin to natural selection that caused modifications over time (but not bifurcating speciation), and cladogenesis, or the splitting of one species into two. Among other things, the theory also projects that these processes are completely controlled by internal causes, and that new forms will emerge at a slower rate as time goes on, eventually ceasing to be added altogether. The theory is not well known to the English-speaking scientific community, and in any case contains some fairly apparent and perhaps fatal flaws. Still, it periodically continues to attract interest, as certain aspects of it are backed by some evidence, and some observers have noted that its unusual perspective may have contributed to the development of vicariance biogeography and panbiogeography approaches (Leon Croizat, for example, produced some defenses of it).

Life Chronology

--born in Susa, Italy, on 29 October 1857.
--1880: completes his doctorate at the University of Turin
--after 1880: receives further training at the University of Göttingen and the zoology museum at Turin, then teaches zoological subjects at the universities of, in order, Sassari, Modena, Florence, Turina, and Modena (again)
--1899: publishes monograph on evolution: La Riduzione Progressiva della Variabilità e i Suoi Rapporti coll'Estinzione e coll'Origine delle Specie (translated into German in 1903)
--1909: produces his first publication on hologenesis per se
--1918: publishes first (Italian) edition of his hologenesis book: Ologenesi; Nuova Teoria dell'Evoluzione e della Distribuzione Geografica dei Viventi
--1931: publishes revised French translation of his hologenesis book: L'Ologénèse; Nouvelle Théorie de l'Évolution et de la Distribution Géographique des Êtres Vivants
--1932: retires from university teaching
--dies at Novi Ligure, Italy, on 30 April 1944.

For Additional Information, See:

--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 11 (1975).
--Italian Journal of Zoology, Vol. 67(1) (2000): 129-138.
--Systematic Zoology, Vol. 26(3) (1977): 343-346.
--Systematic Zoology, Vol. 28(4) (1979): 622-624.

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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