Lynn Margulis

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Date of Birth March 5, 1938
Place of Birth Chicago, Illinois
Date of Death Nov 22, 2011 (73)
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Lynn Margulis

Lynn Margulis was an American evolutionary theorist, biologist, science author, educator, and science popularizer, and was the primary modern proponent for the significance of symbiosis in evolution. Historian Jan Sapp has said that "Lynn Margulis's name is as synonymous with symbiosis as Charles Darwin's is with evolution." In particular, Margulis transformed and fundamentally framed current understanding of the evolution of cells with nuclei – an event Ernst Mayr called "perhaps the most important and dramatic event in the history of life" – by proposing it to have been the result of symbiotic mergers of bacteria. Margulis was also the co-developer of the Gaia hypothesis with the British chemist James Lovelock, proposing that the Earth functions as a single self-regulating system, and was the principal defender and promulgator of the five kingdom classification of Robert Whittaker.

Born: Lynn Petra Alexander, March 5, 1938, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died: November 22, 2011, Amherst, Massachusetts, U.S.
Nationality: American
Fields: Biology
Institutions: Brandeis University, Boston University, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Alma mater: University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin–Madison, University of California, Berkeley
Thesis: An Unusual Pattern of Thymidine Incorporation in Euglena' (1965)
Known for: Symbiogenesis, Gaia hypothesis
Influences: Ivan Wallin, Konstantin Mereschkowski
Notable awards: National Medal of Science (1999), William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement (1999), Darwin-Wallace Medal (2008)
Children: Dorion Sagan (1959), Jeremy Ethan Sagan (1960), Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma, Jennifer Margulis di Properzio

About Lynn Margulis

Biologist who discovered the origins of eukaryotic organelles and showed that animals, plants, and fungi all originated from Protists. Her first husband was legendary astronomer Carl Sagan.

Before Fame

She attended the University of Chicago and UC Berkeley.


She was selected to be a apart of the Leonardo DaVinci Society of Thinking in 2010.

Family Life

She had four children with Carl Sagan whom she married in 1957, before later marrying Dr. Thomas N. Margulis.


She married Carl Sagan when she was 19 years old.

Information related to Lynn Margulis

  • Lyme disease researchers
  • Sagan family
  • Scientists from Massachusetts
  • Women evolutionary biologists
  • Theoretical biologists
  • University of Chicago Laboratory Schools alumni
  • Symbiosis
  • 21st-century biologists
  • Women zoologists
  • American women biologists
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst faculty
  • American agnostics
  • Evolutionary biologists
  • National Medal of Science laureates
  • Boston University faculty
  • 21st-century American scientists
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Latest information about Lynn Margulis updated on November 25, 2020.

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