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Paul Kammerer

Paul KammererBorn: 17-Aug-1880
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: 23-Oct-1926
Location of death: Theresien Hills, Austria
Cause of death: Suicide

Gender: Male
Religion: Atheist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Biologist

Nationality: Austria
Executive summary: Proponent of Lamarckian inheritance

Paul Kammerer attempted to induce differing reproductive behavior in various species of frogs and salamanders by forcing them to reproduce in abnormal conditions, and his early experiments seemed to have succeeded. He reasoned after Lamarck that these newly-learned behaviors and physical characteristics would be passed from generation to generation, each improving on the last. His discoveries were hyped in the press, and Kammerer was hailed as a successor to Charles Darwin.

His theories, however, were debunked in an article in the 7 August 1926 issue of Nature, written by Dr. G. Kingsley Noble, Curator of Reptiles at the American Museum of Natural History, who had been invited by Kammerer to examine his specimens only to find that Kammerer or someone close to him had been faking his frogs' inherited traits by injecting india ink. Kammerer blamed an assistant for tampering with his experiments, but he was reviled in the press, his reputation blasted. Kammerer committed suicide via pistol three months later, while travelling to Moscow, where he had accepted a position at Moscow University. His theories were still popular for the next thirty years or so in the Soviet Union, where they harmonized with the buncombe of Trofim Lysenko.

Kammerer devoted much though to causality and coincidence, culminating in his book Des Gesetz der Serie, or The Law of Seriality, a book lauded at the time by Albert Einstein and later quoted at length by Carl Jung in his essay, Synchronicity: An A-causal Connecting Principle.

Father: Karl Kammerer (his second marriage)
Mother: Sofie Kammerer (her third marriage)
Brother: (one from father's previous marriage)
Brother: (two from mother's previous marriage)
Wife: Baroness Felicitas Maria Theodora von Wiedersperg (m. 1906)
Daughter: Lacerta Kammerer (b. 1907)

    University: Biology, University of Vienna


Is the subject of books:
The Case of the Midwife Toad, 1971, BY: Arthur Koestler

Author of books:
Bestimmung und Vererbung des Geschlechtes bei Pflanze, Tier und Mensch (1913, science)
Allgemeine Biologie (1915, science)
Des Gesetz der Serie (1919, science, trans. The Law of Seriality)
Breeding experiments on the inheritance of acquired characters (12-May-1923, article in Nature)
The Inheritence of Acquired Characteristics (1924, science)
Neuvererbung oder Vererbung erworbener Eigenschaften (1925)
Der Artenwandel auf Inseln und seine Ursachen (1926)

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