Ernest Henry Starling

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Starling, Ernest Henry

Starling, Ernest Henry, 1866–1927, English physiologist, b. India. He was professor (1899–1923) at University College, London. He was an authority on heart action and circulation. With Sir William M. Bayliss he introduced the concept of hormones and studied intestinal movement, describing (1899) peristalsis as a ganglionic reflex. His many works include Principles of Human Physiology (1912; 14th ed. with Sir Charles A. Evans, 1968).


starling, any of a group of originally Old World birds that have become distributed worldwide. Starlings were released in New York City in 1890; since then the common, or European, starling (Sturnus vulgaris) has spread throughout North America. They often collect in loud, noisy flocks. Starlings destroy some insects, but they are generally considered a nuisance and an agricultural pest because they drive away smaller, desirable birds and damage fruit trees and other crops. They have iridescent, blackish plumage and a long bill which is yellow in spring and summer. They mimic bird songs and other sounds. Starlings are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Sturnidae.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Starling, Ernest Henry


Born Apr. 17,1866, in London; died May 2,1927, on a steamer in the port of Kingston, Jamaica. English physiologist.

Starling graduated from the medical school at the University of London in 1886 and subsequently worked in Breslau and Paris. From 1899 to 1923 he was a professor at University College, which was incorporated into the University of London in 1907.

Starling wrote on blood circulation, lymph formation, intestinal movements and innervation, renal function, and pancreatic secretion. In 1902, together with W. Bayliss, he discovered secretin, and in 1905 he introduced the concept of hormone. His colloid-osmotic theory clarified the process of lymph formation (Starling’s ultrafiltration theory). Starling proposed, independently of I. P. Pavlov and N. Ia. Chistovich, a modification of a heart-lung preparation. Later becoming widely accepted, the modification enabled him to detect many mechanisms in the activity of an isolated heart.


Elements of Human Physiology, 8th ed. London, 1907.
Lectures on Recent Advances in the Physiology of Digestion . . . Chicago, 1906.
Lectures on the Fluids of the Body. London, 1909.
Linacre Lecture on the Law of the Heart. London, 1918.
Principles of Human Physiology, 9th ed. Philadelphia, 1945; in Russian translation: Osnovy fiziologii cheloveka, vols. 1–2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1931–33.


Martin, C. J. “Prof. E. H. Starling.” Nature, 1927, vol. 119, no. 3,002, pp. 715–21.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.