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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index C > E.J.H. Corner Quotes

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E.J.H. Corner
(12 Jan 1906 - 14 Sep 1996)

English botanist, mycologist and author who was one of the greatest exponents of tropical botany.

Science Quotes by E.J.H. Corner (4 quotes)

A plant is a living thing that absorbs in microscopic amounts over its surface what it needs for growth. It spreads therefore an exterior whereas the animal develops, through its mouth, an interior. The definition is vague but it gives the reason why the limb of a tree ends in leaves, not fingers, and it helps to explain how in the long run of evolution a monkey came to sit on the tree and a cow to ruminate in its shade.
— E.J.H. Corner
Opening of Chapter 1, The Life of Plants (1964, 2002), 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Cow (42)  |  Definition (238)  |  Evolution (635)  |  Exterior (7)  |  Interior (35)  |  Monkey (57)  |  Nutrient (8)  |  Plant (320)  |  Tree (269)

Biology has become dissection. A living thing is too complicated to be understood. It must be stripped down like some strange machine, and its parts removed, correlated, enlarged, analysed, and tested to see what they are made of and how they work. The microscope has been followed by the ultramicroscope and all the ingenious instrumentation of modern physics and chemistry. The complexity in structure revealed at one magnification is increased at a higher; the reactions discovered by specialists in one technique amplify without finality the discoveries of others. The biologist, searching into the mystery of life, probes more deeply and studies, of necessity, smaller bits and happenings. So the substance and the ways of the living are broken down, and from the pieces tomes are gathered in encyclopaedic summary; what is known of a cell, or of part of a cell, may fill a volume.
— E.J.H. Corner
In 'Preface', The Life of Plants (1964, 2002), xiii.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (244)  |  Biology (232)  |  Cell (146)  |  Complexity (121)  |  Dissection (35)  |  Encyclopedia (7)  |  Microscope (85)

Fossils, be it understood, are given botanical names and spoken of as if they were species, but they are merely the bits, however wonderfully preserved, of extinct beings: we are apt to forget in the explicit elegance of the structures made by cell-walls, that it is the living protoplasm which is plant life and makes species.
— E.J.H. Corner
In The Life of Plants (1964, 2002), 177.
Science quotes on:  |  Botany (63)  |  Cell (146)  |  Elegance (40)  |  Extinct (25)  |  Forget (125)  |  Fossil (143)  |  Life (1870)  |  Name (359)  |  Plant (320)  |  Preserve (91)  |  Protoplasm (13)  |  Species (435)  |  Structure (365)

I still think that to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favor of special creation.
— E.J.H. Corner
This is too often seen distorted by creationists in this form, without the larger context. In isolation, it does not represent the position of the author.—Webmaster. The more complete quote from the author’s work is: “The theory of evolution is not merely the theory of the origin of species but the only explanation of the fact that organisms can be classified into this [taxonomic] hierarchy of natural affinity. Much evidence can be adduced in favor of the theory of evolution—from biology, bio-geography, and paleontology; but I still think that, to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favor of special creation.” From article, 'Evolution', collected in Anna Macgillivray Macleod and Leslie Samuel Cobley (eds.), Contemporary Botanical Thought (1961). A longer quote, making clear that Corner “was by no means arguing in any way for special creation, or against evolution❞ is given in 'E. J. H. Corner' at
Science quotes on:  |  Creation (350)  |  Evolution (635)  |  Fossil Record (12)  |  Plant (320)  |  Unprejudiced (3)

See also:
  • 12 Jan - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Corner's birth.
  • The Life of Plants, by E.J.H. Corner. - book suggestion.

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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