NCERT 11TH STANDARD BIOLOGY – STRUCTURAL ORGANISATION IN PLANTS AND ANIMALS
The description of the diverse forms of life on earth was made only by observation – through naked eyes or later through magnifying lenses and microscopes. This description is mainly of gross structural features, both external and internal. In addition, observable and perceivable living phenomena were also recorded as part of this description.
Before experimental biology or more specifically, physiology, was established as a part of biology, naturalists described only biology. Hence, biology remained as a natural history for a long time. The description, by itself, was amazing in terms of detail.
While the initial reaction of a student could be boredom, one should keep in mind that the detailed description, was utilised in the later day reductionist biology where living processes drew more attention from scientists than the description of life forms and their structure.
Hence, this description became meaningful and helpful in framing research questions in physiology or evolutionary biology. In the following chapters of this unit, the structural organization of plants and animals, including the structural basis of physiologial or behavioural phenomena, is described. For convenience, this description of morphological and anatomical features is presented separately for plants and animals.
KATHERINE ESAU was born in Ukraine in 1898. She studied agriculture in Russia and Germany and received her doctorate in 1931 in United States. She reported in her early publications that the curly top virus spreads through a plant via the food conducting or phloem tissue.
Dr Esau’s Plant Anatomy published in 1954 took a dynamic, developmental approach designed to enhance one’s understanding of plant structure and an enormous impact worldwide, literally bringing about a revival of the discipline.
The Anatomy of Seed Plants by Katherine Esau was published in 1960. It was referred to as Webster’s of plant biology – it is encyclopediac. In 1957 she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, becoming the sixth woman to receive that honour. In addition to this prestigious award, she received the National Medal of Science from President George Bush in 1989. When Katherine Esau died in the year 1997, Peter Raven, director of Anatomy and Morphology, Missouri Botanical Garden, remembered that she ‘absolutely dominated’ the field of plant biology even at the age of 99.