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Karl Vogt
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Scientist
A.K.A. Carl Vogt
Was Philosopher Zoologist Professor Educator Geologist Biologist Scientist Physiologist Politician Paleontologist Naturalist
From Germany Switzerland
Type Academia Biology Philosophy Science Social science Politics
Gender male
Birth 5 July 1817, Gießen, Germany
Death 5 May 1895, Geneva, Switzerland (aged 77 years)
Star sign Cancer
Children: William Vogt
The details (from wikipedia)


Karl Christoph Vogt ([foːkt]; originally Carl; 5 July 1817 – 5 May 1895) was a German scientist, philosopher and politician who emigrated to Switzerland. Vogt published a number of notable works on zoology, geology and physiology. All his life he was engaged in politics, in the German Frankfurt Parliament of 1848–9 and later in Switzerland.



Vogt was the son of Philipp Friedrich Wilhelm Vogt [de], professor of clinics, and Louise Follenius. His maternal uncle was Charles Follen.


Vogt studied medicine at the University of Giessen. He earned his medical doctorate from the University of Bern in 1839 with a dissertation under the title Beiträge zur Anatomie der Amphibien.


In 1847 he became professor of zoology at the University of Giessen, and in 1852 professor of geology and afterwards also of zoology at the University of Geneva. His earlier publications were on zoology. He dealt with the Amphibia (1839), Reptiles (1840), with Mollusca and Crustacea (1845) and more generally with the invertebrate fauna of the Mediterranean (1854). In 1842, during his time with Louis Agassiz in Neuchâtel, he discovered the mechanism of apoptosis, the programmed cell death, while studying the development of the tadpole of the midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans). Charles Darwin mentions Vogt's support for the theory of evolution in the introduction to his The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871). Vogt was also a proponent of scientific materialism and atheism.


Vogt was active in German politics and was a left-wing representative in the Frankfurt Parliament. Karl Marx scathingly replied to attacks by Karl Vogt in his book Herr Vogt (1860). Marx's defenders pointed to the fact that, years later (1871), records published after the fall of the Second Empire of Napoleon Bonaparte III indicated that Vogt had been secretly in the pay of the French Emperor.


Karl Vogt was a proponent of polygenist evolution; he rejected the monogenist beliefs of most Darwinists and instead believed that each race had evolved from a different type of ape. Vogt believed that the Negro was related to the ape. He wrote the White race was a separate species from Negroes. In Chapter VII of his Lectures on Man (1864) he compared the Negro to the White race and described them as “two extreme human types”. The differences between them, he claimed, are greater than those between two species of ape; and this proved that Negroes are a separate species from Whites.


The city of Geneva, Switzerland named a boulevard (Boulevard Carl-Vogt) after Vogt and by erected a memorial bust in the park of the University of Geneva.


  • Untersuchungen über die Entwicklungsgeschichte der Geburtshelferkröte (Alytes obstetricians), Solothurn: Jent und Gassman (1842)
  • Im Gebirg und auf den Gletschern (In the mountains and on the glaciers; 1843)
  • Physiologische Briefe (Letters on physiology; 1845–46)
  • Grundriss der Geologie (Outline of geology; 1860)
  • Lehrbuch der Geologie und Petrefactenkunde (Textbook on geology and petrification, 2 vols.; 1846–47; 4th ed., 1879)
  • An English version of his Lectures on Man: his Place in Creation and in the History of the Earth was published by the Anthropological Society of London in 1864.
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 09 Mar 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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