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Academic & Professional Books  History & Other Humanities  History of Science & Nature

Animal as Machine The Quest to Understand How Animals Work and Adapt

By: Michel Anctil(Author)
344 pages, 30 b/w photos
Animal as Machine
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  • Animal as Machine ISBN: 9780228010531 Hardback Apr 2022 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
Price: £34.50
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Through the ages natural historians have puzzled over how animals work, wavering between a vitalist belief in a soul animating bodily functions and a mechanistic outlook in which animal body parts are seen as pieces of organic machinery.

Animal as Machine explores the life, work, and ideas of scientists who, branding themselves as physiologists, subscribed to mechanistic concepts to explain how animals acquire and process food, breathe, circulate their blood, and sense their environment. As medical physiology thrived in the nineteenth century, zoologists struggled to forge their own distinctive physiology predicated on understanding animal functions in a context of environmental adaptation and evolutionary forces. Physiological schools with distinct emphases that shaped their outlook sprang up around the world. Dividing their time between fieldwork in marine stations and laboratory experimentation, animal physiologists stood in awe of the diversity and ingenuity of the functional strategies by which animals survived.

Animal as Machine tells a remarkable and insightful story of the larger-than-life personalities and gripping historical episodes that marked the emergence and blossoming of animal physiology.


Prologue   vii
Chronology   xiii

1. An Unspoken Branch of Natural History   3
2. The Uncertain Beginnings   30
3. Building Sound Foundations   53
4. The Turning Point   84
5. American Schools of Comparative Physiology   114
6. The Belgian School and the Rise of Comparative Biochemistry   138
7. The Canadian Way: Fish Physiology and Biochemistry   167
8. A Showcase of Animals Living on the Edge   195
9. Learning How Animal Brains Work   219
10. Learning How Chemicals Rule Animal Moods   251

Epilogue   275
References   279
Index   321

Customer Reviews


Michel Anctil is an honorary professor of biology at Université de Montréal and author of Dawn of the Neuron: The Early Struggles to Trace the Origin of Nervous Systems and Luminous Creatures: The History and Science of Light Production in Living Organisms.

By: Michel Anctil(Author)
344 pages, 30 b/w photos
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