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Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 83, Issue 5–6, pp 193–203 | Cite as

Alfonso Luis Herrera and the Beginnings of Evolutionism and Studies in the Origin of Life in Mexico

  • Ismael Ledesma-Mateos
  • H. James CleavesII
Original Article

Abstract

Alfonso Luis Herrera (1868–1942) was a Mexican biologist, and significant as the principal promoter of Darwinian thought in that country. However, Herrera’s thinking went beyond the evolution of living beings, and extended to the question of the origin of life itself and the place of living phenomena in the larger context of the cosmos. Perhaps more significantly, though now largely forgotten, Herrera was among the first to embark on an experimental program to understand the origin of life, one which may be seen as foundational for later workers, most notably Sidney Fox and Alexander Oparin, and which has been resuscitated recently. We review here the development of Herrera’s scientific thought on Darwinism and the origin of life and the context in which it developed.

Keywords

Alfonso Herrera Darwinism History of evolution Origin of life Mexico 

Notes

Acknowledgements

HJC would like to thank the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) for funding during the preparation of this manuscript, a JSPS KAKENHI Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas Hadean Bioscience, and the ELSI Origins Network (EON), which is supported by a Grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation. Also we are grateful for the DGAPA of the UNAM as part of the Project PAPIT IN 304 208 “La Introducción de los Conceptos y Teorías Fundamentales de la Biología y la Construcción de la Profesión de Biólogo en México, Siglos XIX al XXI” and the Facultad de Estudios Superiores Iztacala de la UNAM.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultad de Estudios Superiores Iztacala de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)TlanepantlaMexico
  2. 2.Earth-Life Science InstituteTokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan
  3. 3.The Institute for Advanced StudyPrincetonUSA
  4. 4.Blue Marble Space Institute of ScienceWashingtonUSA
  5. 5.Center for Chemical EvolutionGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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