Les méduses : histoire de leur classification, de leurs moyens d'étude et de leur représentation, de l'Antiquité à la fin du XIXème siècle

Abstract : Perceived until the 19th century as gelatinous masses with stinging properties, jellyfish were classified in the group of zoophytes, intermediate organisms between animals and plants. Scientists then used it to demonstrate continuity between plant and animal living beings and became essential arguments in establishing the scale of beings. From the nineteenth century, we discover, particularly through microscopy, the complexity of their anatomy, which finally allows to characterize them positively. In the mid-nineteenth century, we highlight the different phases of their life cycle and the colony organization of some jellyfish. Jellyfish become one of the main interests of zoologists and embryologists who seek to find the evolutionary significance of the different stages of their development. The term jellyfish then appears to designate one of their life stages. In parallel with this conceptual history, the various stages of this classification were marked by study difficulties which made jellyfish one of the few groups not defined by positive characters at the end of the eighteenth century. Indeed, if the scientific expeditions allowed to recover many samples, quickly the problem of their conservation was posed. Faced with the difficulties of maintaining their morphology and their colors after their collection, the naturalistic images of jellyfish have thus become essential objects of study in the knowledge and classification of these organisms. These images give a reflection of the conceptual and technical evolution, which accompanied the classification of jellyfish
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Danièle Vial. Les méduses : histoire de leur classification, de leurs moyens d'étude et de leur représentation, de l'Antiquité à la fin du XIXème siècle. Education. Université de Lyon, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018LYSE1235⟩. ⟨tel-02073899⟩

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