Alexander Kovalevsky – Embryologist

 From Today in Science History:

Alexander Kovalevsky. Born 7 Nov 1840; died 9 Nov 1901.
Russian founder of comparative embryology and experimental histology, who first established that there was a common pattern in the embryological development of all multicellular animals. He studied the lancelet, a fish-shaped sea animal; about 2-in. (5-cm) long; then wrote Development of Amphioxus lanceolatus (1865). Then, in 1866, he demonstrated the similarity between Amphioxus and the larval stages of tunicates and established the chordate status of the tunicates.
In 1867, Kovalevsky extended the germ layer concept of Christian Heinrich Pander and Karl Ernst von Baer to include the invertebrates, establishing an important embryologic unity in the animal kingdom.(see Gastrulation) This was important evidence of the evolution of living organisms.

  • See a brief biography with Russian stamp image here. 
  • See a list of his correspondence with Darwin here.
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