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Check-list of the Birds of the World


Graduate students
Ernst Mayr Scientist
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I had, of course, students, graduate students, including Professor Bock who's sitting here. Altogether, I… I think 19 students took their PhD under me, under… with a great variety of subjects, and, interestingly enough, the most common subject chosen by students of mine were papers on behavior, various kinds of behavior. There was at that time… for most of that time… was no member of the faculty in the biology department whose specialty was behavior, except [EO] Wilson for insect behavior. But [Donald] Griffin, who had been teaching behavior, had gone to the Rockefeller [Institute], and so… more students of mine took their PhD in a subject on behavior than any others. But the other students took it on various aspects of systematics or evolutionary biology and so forth. All of them are now teaching, with the exception of one who was… woman student who went into politics or journalism or something like that.

The late German-American biologist Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) was a leading light in the field of evolutionary biology, gaining a PhD at the age of 21. He was also a tropical explorer and ornithologist who undertook an expedition to New Guinea and collected several thousand bird skins. In 1931 he accepted a curatorial position at the American Museum of Natural History. During his time at the museum, aged 37, he published his seminal work 'Systematics and Origin of the Species' which integrated the theories of Darwin and Mendel and is considered one of his greatest works.

Listeners: Walter J. Bock

Walter J. Bock is Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Columbia University. He received his B.Sc. from Cornell and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard. His research lies in the areas of organismal and evolutionary biology, with a special emphasis on functional and evolutionary morphology of the skeleto-muscular system, specifically the feeding apparatus of birds.

Tags: Walter Bock, Donald Griffin, E O Wilson

Duration: 1 minute, 21 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1997

Date story went live: 24 January 2008