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July 1963

Phylogenetic Significance of the Skin of Man

Author Affiliations


Department of Biology, Brown University.

Arch Dermatol. 1963;88(1):1-19. doi:10.1001/archderm.1963.01590190007001


It is difficult for a biologist to present a learned discussion on skin to a society of dermatologists. It would be easy to hide behind the common practice of grinding out a highly specialized, properly recondite study which might interest a few of you, while the others would sit through it in polite boredom. As I ruminated about what to do, I happened to read some pithy remarks made by Dr. William F. G. Swann, Director Emeritus of the Bartol Foundation of the Franklin Institute (Donahey and Gentieu, 1961). When, at a scientific meeting, Dr. Swann was asked to comment on a paper which had just been presented, he told the audience: "1) The subject was fundamentally unintelligible in its own right, 2) it was described in words which could not be heard, and 3) it was illustrated by slides which could not be seen." Sobered by these observations,