Ivan Ivanovich Shmalgauzen

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shmal’gauzen, Ivan Ivanovich


(also Schmalhauzen). Born Apr. 11 (23), 1884, in Kiev; died Oct. 7, 1963, in Moscow. Soviet biologist, zoologist, and theorist on evolution. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1935) and the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (1922). Honored Scientist of the Ukrainian SSR (1935). Son of I. F. Shmal’gauzen.

Shmal’gauzen graduated from the University of Kiev (1907), where he was a student of A. N. Severtsov. He was a professor at the universities of Voronezh (from 1918) and Kiev (from 1921). From 1939 to 1948 he was a professor at Moscow University, where he was also chairman (1939–48) of the subdepartment of Darwinism that he had organized. Between 1930 and 1941 he was director of the Institute of Zoology and Biology of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, and between 1936 and 1948, director of the Institute of Evolutionary Morphology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (now the A. N. Severtsov Institute of Evolutionary Morphology and Animal Ecology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR). From 1948 to 1955 he was a senior research worker at the Zoological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR; from 1955 to 1963 he was head of the institute’s embryology laboratory.

Shmal’gauzen’s works (descriptive, experimental, and theoretical) dealt primarily with comparative anatomy and embryology; evolutionary morphology; the origin of land vertebrates; growth processes of organisms; phenogenetics; morphogenesis; factors, pathways, and patterns of evolution; and biocybernetics. In the period 1920–30 he formulated a universal law of growth based on quantitative analysis and devised a methodology for determining growth constants that proved to be of great practical value. At the same time, he studied the development of qualitative characters in ontogeny and demonstrated the overall complexity and genotypic dependence of their morphogenetic interrelations. Beginning in the 1930’s, Shmal’gauzen devoted himself to general biological problems, which he unswervingly interpreted from the dialectical-materialist standpoint. He supplemented Darwin’s materialist theory of evolution by showing the integral nature of the organism in its individual and historical development, by introducing the theory of stabilizing selection (seeSTABILIZING SELECTION), and by investigating the mechanisms of both the evolutionary process and individual development as self-regulating systems. He thus anticipated several concepts of cybernetics on the basis of which he advanced his theory of evolution (1950–60). Shmal’gauzen’s research exerted and continues to exert considerable influence on the development of biology.

Shmal’gauzen was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, the E. Metchnikoff Gold Medal of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, and the Darwin Medal of the Leopoldina German Academy of Naturalists.


Rist organizmiv. Kiev-Kharkov, 1932.
Puti i zakonomernosti evoliutsionnogo protsessa. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939.
Organizm kak tseloe v individual’nom i istoricheskom razvitii, 2nd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1942.
Faktory evoliutsii (teoriia stabiliziruiushchego olbora). Moscow-Leningrad, 1946.
Osnovy sravnitel’noi anatomii pozvononchnyh zhivotnykh, 4th ed. Moscow, 1947.
Reguliatsiia formoobrazovaniia v individual’nom razvitii. Moscow, 1964.
Proiskhozhdenie nazemnykh pozvonochnykh. Moscow, 1964.
Kiberneticheskie voprosy biologii. Novosibirsk, 1968.
Problemy darvinizma, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1969.


Paramonov, A. A., and I. I. Shmal’gauzen. “Problemy darvinizma.” Zoologicheskii zhurnal, 1947, vol. 26, issue 6, pp. 567–70.
Makhotin, A. A. “Ivan Ivanovich Shmal’gauzen.” Ibid., 1964, vol. 43, issue 2, pp. 297–302. (Contains references.)
Medvedeva, I. M., and I. I. Shmal’gauzen. “Reguliatsiia formoobrazovaniia v individual’nom razvitii.” Zhurnal obshchei biologii, 1966, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 503–07.
Makhotin, A. A., and O. I. Shmal’gauzen. “Akademik Ivan Ivanovich Shmal’gauzen i ego vklad v izuchenie zakonomernostei ontogeneza.” Ontogenez, 1974, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 222–29.
Evoliutsionnye vzgliady I. I. Shmal’gauzena (K 90-letiu so dnia rozhdeniia). Leningrad, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.