Journal of the History of Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 73–101

The ``Evolutionary Synthesis'' of George Udny Yule

  • James G. Tabery

DOI: 10.1023/

Cite this article as:
Tabery, J.G. Journal of the History of Biology (2004) 37: 73. doi:10.1023/


This article discusses the work ofGeorge Udny Yule in relation to theevolutionary synthesis and thebiometric-Mendelian debate. It has generallybeen claimed that (i.) in 1902, Yule put forththe first account showing that the competingbiometric and Mendelian programs could besynthesized. Furthermore, (ii.) the scientificfigures who should have been most interested inthis thesis (the biometricians W. F. RaphaelWeldon and Karl Pearson, and the MendelianWilliam Bateson) were too blinded by personalanimosity towards each other to appreciateYule's proposal. This essay provides adetailed account of (i.), maintaining thatYule's 1902 proposal is better understood as areduction, not a synthesis of the two programs.The results of this analysis are then used toevaluate (ii.), where I will instead argue thatBateson and the biometricians had good reasonsto avoid endorsing Yule's account.

biometric-Mendelian debate evolutionary synthesis George Udny Yule Karl Pearson law of ancestral heredity reduction Ronald A. Fisher William Bateson 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • James G. Tabery
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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