Back

ⓘ Nicolaus Steno. Nicolas Steno also spelled as Nicolas Steno who lived 1 January 1638 – 25 November 1686 was a Danish Catholic cleric and scientist who pioneered ..




Nicolaus Steno
                                     

ⓘ Nicolaus Steno

Nicolas Steno also spelled as Nicolas Steno who lived 1 January 1638 – 25 November 1686 was a Danish Catholic cleric and scientist who pioneered in both anatomy and geology.

In 1659 he decided not to accept anything written in a book and, instead, decided to find out things for himself. He is considered the father of geology and stratigraphy. 4; 96

                                     

1. Fossils and geology

Steno argued that the chemical composition of fossils could be altered without changing their form.

Stenos work on shark teeth led him to the question of how any solid object could come to be found inside another solid object, such as a rock or a layer of rock.

The "solids within solids" that attracted Stenos interest included not only fossils, as we would define them today, but minerals, crystals, even entire rock layers or strata.

He published his geologic studies in 1669: De solido intra solidum naturaliter contento dissertationis prodromus, or Preliminary discourse to a dissertation on a solid body naturally contained within a solid.

Steno was not the first to identify fossils as being from living organisms. His contemporaries Robert Hooke and John Ray also argued that fossils were the remains of once-living organisms.

Steno wrote about some of the fundamental principles of stratigraphy:

  • Lateral continuity: "Material forming any stratum were continuous over the surface of the Earth unless some other solid bodies stood in the way";
  • Horizontality: "Strata either perpendicular to the horizon or inclined to the horizon were at one time parallel to the horizon";
  • Cross-cutting discontinuities: "If a body or discontinuity cuts across a stratum, it must have formed after that stratum".
  • Superposition: ".at the time when any given stratum was being formed, all the matter resting upon it was fluid, and, therefore, at the time when the lower stratum was being formed, none of the upper strata existed";
                                     
  • which are among the largest ever found, over 7 inches 18 cm long. Nicolaus Steno was the first to recognize the teeth as those of a giant shark. Paleontologists
  • sedimentary and layered vocanic rocks. The subject was established by Nicolaus Steno whose book De solido contained these principles: law of superposition:
  • time scale. The principles were first laid down by Nicolaus Steno in the late 17th century. Steno argued that rock layers or strata are laid down in
  • ideas were worked out in the early days of stratigraphy by people like Nicolaus Steno James Hutton and William Smith: Understanding the past: Geologist James
  • Micrographia. London 1665. The microscope and what he saw in it, illustrated. Nicolaus Steno 1638 1686 De solido. Florence 1669. Clear recognition of the organic