Edwin Ray Lankester

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lankester, Edwin Ray


Born May 15, 1847, in London; died there Aug. 15, 1929. English zoologist and embryologist. Fellow of the Royal Society of London (1875).

Lankester became a professor at University College in London in 1874 and at Oxford University in 1890. He was director of the natural history department of the British Museum from 1898 to 1907. His principal works were on extinct fishes and the anatomy and embryology of annelids, mollusks, and arthropods. Lankester’s works on invertebrate taxonomy are especially well known. He divided (1877) phylum Helminthes into three distinct phyla (Platyhelminthes, Nemathelminthes, and Annelida). He proposed a system of the animal world in which the sponges are treated as an independent group.


“Notes on the Embryology and Classification of the Animal Kingdom.” Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science, 1877, vol. 17, pp. 359–454.
A Treatise on Zoology, parts 1–9. London, 1900–09. (Jointly with others.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Esta obra fue redactada con el consejo y la ayuda editorial de Sir Ernest Baker (1874-1960), Sir Harry Hamilton Jhonston (1858-1927), Sir Edwin Ray Lankester (1847-1929), y el profesor Gilbert Murray (1866-1957).
In an essay for Nature, Edwin Ray Lankester could go so far as to claim that the "physiologist suffers with his experimental animal, and the mutual suffering of both vivisector and vivisected becomes a sacrifice offered up on the altar of Science." (28) While such a claim for mutual suffering might be directed toward assuaging public concerns over the alleged inhumanity of physiologists, it nevertheless implies a connection between human and nonhuman animals that calls into question the species hierarchy structuring the laboratory's methodological order: the supposed identity between the physiologist and his experimental animal could be seen as subverting the very principle of objectivity on which good science traditionally depends.
Supporters of vivisection like Edwin Ray Lankester would have advocated fewer rather than more restrictions: "If you allow experiments at ali, you must admit the more the better, since it is very certain that for many years to come the problems of physiology demanding experimental solution will increase in something like geometrical ratio, instead of decreasing." (32) This has proven to be an accurate prediction, one that was also made by Lankester's opponents in the vivisection controversies.