Child, Charles Manning

Child, Charles Manning


Born Feb. 2,1869, in Ypsilanti, Mich., died Dec. 19, 1954, in Palo Alto, Calif. American biologist.

Child graduated from Wesleyan University (Connecticut) in 1890. He worked at the University of Chicago from 1895 to 1934, receiving a professorship there in 1916. He became a professor at Stanford University (California) in 1937.

Child’s work was primarily in cytology and embryology. His physiological gradient theory attempted to explain the process of embryonic development in vertebrates and the phenomena of differentiation and integration in developing multicellular animals. The theory maintains that the different parts of an elongated body (for example, that of flatworms) vary in metabolic rate and sensitivity to injurious agents, for example, oxygen insufficiency and poisons. As a result, physiological properties gradually weaken or intensify from one end of the body to another or from an end of the body to the center. Child’s theory accounts for objective phenomena but does not explain the individual development of the organism as a whole.


Individuality in Organisms. Chicago, 1915.
The Origin and Development of the Nervous System From a Physiological Viewpoint. Chicago, 1921.
Physiological Foundations of Behavior. New York, 1924.


Zhinkin, L. N., and I. I. Kanaev. “Chaild.” Priroda, 1940, no. 2.
Hyman, L. N. “Charles Manning Child, 1869–1954.” In Biographical Memoirs, vol. 30. New York, 1957. Pages 73–103.
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