Edward O. Wilson, the famed biologist and environmental activist known as “Darwin’s natural heir,” died on Dec. 26 in in Burlington, Massachusetts at the age of 92.
The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation announced Wilson’s passing in a statement without providing a cause to his death.
“A relentless synthesizer of ideas, his courageous scientific focus and poetic voice transformed our way of understanding ourselves and our planet,” E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation Chief Executive Officer and President Paula Ehrlich said.
The National Geographic Society called him “one of the foremost naturalists in both science and literature.”
“It would be hard to understate Ed’s scientific achievements, but his impact extends to every facet of society,” David Prend, Chairman of the Board of the foundation, said.
Also known as “the ant man” for his pioneering work as an entomologist, Wilson also studied human behavior and genetics, which led to the creation of the sociobiology.
However, Wilson also sparked controversy when he insisted that our genetic traits influenced our intelligence and guided our social behaviors, including aggression.
Wilson later used his fame to promote biodiversity and environmentalist, advocating for the “half-Earth” conservation concept, which calls for humans to set aside half of the planet as wilderness for other species.
Wilson is also acknowledged as the creator of the field of island biogeography and the concepts of biophilia and biodiversity studies.
In his long career, Wilson received over a hundred awards, including the United States National Medal of Science, the Hubbard Medal, and the Crafoord Prize.
Wilson wrote over 30 books and forewords and over 430 scientific papers, winning two Pulitzer Prizes in non-fiction.
Wilson is survived by his daughter, Catherine, and her husband, Jonathan.
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