Goodbye to Edward O. Wilson, The Darwin of the Modern Era

Edward O. Wilson retained the largest collection of ants in the world: no less than a million copies of this animal that fascinated him so much and that, like m

Goodbye to Edward O. Wilson, The Darwin of the Modern Era

Edward O. Wilson retained the largest collection of ants in the world: no less than a million copies of this animal that fascinated him so much and that, like many other insects, he investigated in depth since with barely 10 years he began to be interested in they. If Charles Darwin has had a successor, that has been Wilson, an authentic wise man from the natural world. In his office he had a nice doll with the face of the author of the origin of the species, whom he held in Hamletian plan: "Do you think my research progresses in the same line as your discoveries?"

The famous American ecologist who coined and popularized the term biodiversity and insisted on raising society about its value and the importance of preserving it, died on Sunday at 92 years in Burlington, Massachusetts, as reported in the statement the foundation that leads your name.

During his prolific career at Harvard as a professor, entomologist and conservative of the collection of the Comparative Zoology Museum of that same university, he discovered more than 400 species of ants but his greatest achievement in this field according to him was to find out how ants communicate: warn His companions on where there is danger and food by issuing chemical substances. The ants was precisely one of the two works of it awarded with the pulitzer of literature in the category of non-fiction, in 1991 (he also received him over human nature, EN1979).

Among the thirty of books he wrote also the diversity of life, the future of life, consilience. The unit of knowledge or the controversial sociobiology: the new synthesis. At the beginning of 2022, histories of the world of ants (editorial criticism) will be published in Spain, a work on which it relates its nine decades scientific passion for the more than 15,000 species of existing ants and reviews the expeditions it made to know them. To the literary and informative work of it, almost half of scientific articles published in the most prestigious magazines are added.

People applied their findings about animal behavior: "humans are competitive beings and we will never reach peace and total harmony," he recognized the endearing biologist in one of the interviews granted to the world, on the occasion of the publication of the future of the life. "But we have to learn to negotiate, and there comes our intelligence in play (...) The human being should resist the temptation to dominate and change nature. What we have to do is know it better and learn from it. It is more , I would say that we should 'get up to nature', stop considering us something alien and accept that we are indissoluble part of it. We live in the absolute paradise on this planet and we do not want to realize it, "he argued.

Born in Alabama, Professor Emeritus of the University of Harvard also created two scientific disciplines (the biogeography of the islands and sociobiology) and three unifying concepts for science and humanities jointly (biofilia, biodiversity studies and consilience).

Although officially retired in 1996, he remained very active in the following decades. In 2007 he presented the Encyclopedia of Life, a kind of Wikipedia of nature, available for everyone but with information endorsed by scientists, and in which data of one third of known species were offered.

The US biologist shared generation and mission with the British Naturalist David Attenborough, 95, with which last October starred on a debate on the state of the natural world, one of his latest public appearances. Both have been dedicated to alerting the rapid degradation that many ecosystems are suffering, from which they have witnessed during the last century. "The time has come to think about the great situation that we have created ourselves," Wilson warned.

For that purpose, the US scientist launched the Half-Earth Project initiative to claim that half of the earth and sea surface was protected and being able to reverse the rapid rhythm to which many species are being extinguished: "The plan is that ambitious: leave Half of the planet for human beings and the other half as a nature reserve for the other 10 million species with which we share it. It would be a tacit agreement: half planet for us, but the other means we can not touch it, "he proposed.

United Nations has asked the international community to commit to preserve 30% of the land and marine surface (double the surface that is currently protected) by 2030, a target known as 30 in 30, and that has been Partly inspired by Wilson.

Father of a daughter, Catherine, in 1996 an international survey included it on the list of the 100 most influential scientists in history. He received the national medal to science, the greatest recognition for a scientist in the US, while the Royal Swedish Academy distinguished him with the CLAFEORD Award, created to cover the areas not awarded by Nobel. Throughout the race of it, he collected around 150 more prizes, including the FBBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Borders in the category of Ecology and Conservation Biology.

Updated Date: 07 January 2022, 08:00

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