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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Francis Maitland Balfour Quotes

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Francis Maitland Balfour
(10 Nov 1851 - 19 Jul 1882)

Scottish embryologist and zoologist.


Science Quotes by Francis Maitland Balfour (3 quotes)

The embryological record is almost always abbreviated in accordance with the tendency of nature (to be explained on the principle of survival of the fittest) to attain her needs by the easiest means.
— Francis Maitland Balfour
A Treatise on Comparative Embryology (1880), Vol. I, 3-4.
Science quotes on:  |  Embryology (16)  |  Survival Of The Fittest (36)

Why it is that animals, instead of developing in a simple and straightforward way, undergo in the course of their growth a series of complicated changes, during which they often acquire organs which have no function, and which, after remaining visible for a short time, disappear without leaving a trace ... To the Darwinian, the explanation of such facts is obvious. The stage when the tadpole breathes by gills is a repetition of the stage when the ancestors of the frog had not advanced in the scale of development beyond a fish.
— Francis Maitland Balfour
In The Works of Francis Maitland Balfour (1885), Vol. 1, 702.
Science quotes on:  |  Acquisition (33)  |  Advance (128)  |  Ancestor (38)  |  Animal (325)  |  Breathe (30)  |  Change (324)  |  Complication (21)  |  Charles Darwin (286)  |  Development (231)  |  Disappearance (21)  |  Explanation (165)  |  Fact (628)  |  Fish (87)  |  Frog (31)  |  Function (100)  |  Gill (3)  |  Growth (115)  |  Leaving (10)  |  Obvious (59)  |  Organ (61)  |  Remain (82)  |  Repetition (21)  |  Series (41)  |  Simplicity (128)  |  Stage (43)  |  Straightforward (4)  |  Tadpole (2)  |  Trace (43)  |  Undergo (12)  |  Visibility (6)

the embryological record, as it is usually presented to us, is both imperfect and misleading. It may be compared to an ancient manuscript, with many of the sheets lost, others displaced, and with spurious passages interpolated by a later hand. Like the scholar with his manuscript, the embryologist has by a process of careful and critical examination to determine where the gaps are present, to detect the later insertions, and to place in order what has been misplaced.
— Francis Maitland Balfour
A Treatise on Comparative Embryology (1885), Vol. 1, 3-4.
Science quotes on:  |  Ancient (71)  |  Careful (14)  |  Comparison (53)  |  Critical (35)  |  Detection (12)  |  Determine (49)  |  Displace (3)  |  Embryologist (2)  |  Embryology (16)  |  Examination (61)  |  Gap (20)  |  Imperfect (11)  |  Insertion (2)  |  Lost (28)  |  Manuscript (7)  |  Misleading (12)  |  Order (173)  |  Passage (14)  |  Process (210)  |  Record (59)  |  Scholar (31)  |  Sheet (6)  |  Spurious (2)


See also:
  • 10 Nov - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Balfour's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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