Biologist Edward Wilson dies

Edward Osborne Wilson (1929-2021)

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The famous biologist Edward Wilson, one of the founders of sociobiology and a proponent of active conservation, died on Sunday December 26 in Burlington, Massachusetts. He was 92 years old. On the death of a scientist reported Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.

Edward Osborne Wilson was born in 1929 in Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from the University of Alabama and received his PhD from Harvard. Wilson has devoted much of his scientific career to researching ants. He was considered one of the world’s foremost experts on these insects. In particular, he described over 400 species of ants.

Research on ants made Wilson wonder about the evolutionary origins of sociality. In 1975, he published Sociobiology, in which he suggested that social behavior in animals, including altruism and cooperation, is largely determined by their genes. Colleagues praised this work, and sociobiology soon became one of the most influential branches of biology. However, the last chapter of the book, in which Wilson argued that human behavior is also primarily biological in nature, has provoked mixed reactions.

Edward Wilson has written hundreds of scientific articles, as well as over thirty monographs and popular science books on ants and other eusocial insects, the evolution of social behavior and conservation. Two books by the scientist won the Pulitzer Prize: “On Human Nature” in 1979 and “Ants” in 1991. N + 1 published an excerpt from Wilson’s popular science book Eusociality: Humans, Ants, Naked Mole rats, and Other Social Animals.

In recent decades, Wilson has been an active advocate for the environment. In his books and public speeches, he pointed out that the development of civilization has led to a large-scale environmental crisis, and called for more active conservation of biological diversity. In 2014, Wilson suggested highlight half of the Earth’s surface for nature reserves and national parks – in his opinion, this would allow millions of biological species to survive. In 2005, the Wilson Biodiversity Foundation was founded to support wildlife research and conservation projects.

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Edward Wilson has received a number of awards including the United States National Medal of Science. In 1995, Time magazine named him one of the 25 Most Influential Americans.

Sergey Kolenov

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