Home » Victorian Biology: Physiology, Anatomy, and Palaeontology

Victorian Biology: Physiology, Anatomy, and Palaeontology

Biology is the study of living organism. It is divided in many other scientific specialized fields such as physiology, anatomy, and palaeontology, among many others.

Outstanding progress in the fields of science and technology took place all throughout the 19th-century Victorian era. Victorian Biology happened to be the foundation of many of these emerging scientific disciplines as it interdependently contributed to the study of medicine, human mind, and evolution, and other fields of sciences.

Victorian Biology

Victorian Biology: Physiological advancement and discoveries

Physiology is a branch of biology that deals with the normal functions of living organisms and their parts.

During the early Victorian period, the general public knows little about the structure and composition of their bodies. Some of their early ideas revolved only with the notion that the female structure was just a smaller version of the male structure that was inside out – due to the sexual and reproductive organ. With the lack of knowledge on Victorian Biology during that time, medical practitioners often advised sick patients to simply rest.


As studies in human physiology and taxonomy advanced in the mid-Victorian era, the medical practice began to conduct scientific research and experiments. Various equipment such as microscope paved the way to the discovery of blood corpuscles and anesthesia. Taxonomy of diseases was also researched upon and therefore, illnesses were medicated using specific procedures. There became a great leap towards scientific discoveries in the Victorian era.

Notable Victorian Biologists

Anatomy is a branch of biology that deals with the bodily structure of human beings or other organisms as revealed by dissection and separation of parts while Paleontology is a branch of science concerned with animal and plant fossils.

Georges Cuvier (1769 – 1832) was one of the most well-known Victorian-era scientists. He was recognized to reconstruct a whole human skeleton by using only a single bone. Further, he expanded Linnean taxonomy by categorizing classes into phyla. He proposed that organisms were initially divided into four distinct embranchments, contradicting the common notion that every organism started from a single entity.

Richard Owen (1804 – 1892) is one of the renowned anatomist and paleontologists during the Victorian era. One of his notable works in which he was usually remembered was the coinage of the term ‘Dinosauria’. He was also one of those who outrightly opposed Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species as he reviewed it to be unable to encompass the intricate process of evolution.

There was fervent research of many Victorian scientists that ultimately led to the advancement of scientific discoveries in the Victorian era. Biology was no exception and it also enhanced during this period.