Part of the reason that there were no significant Jewish scientists before 1800 is that the Ashkenazic Jewish population did not really exist before 1700. Eastern European Jews underwent a sort of ethnogenesis and population expansion during the 18th century. They represent a coevolution with the modern civilization, a group which has literally evolved in response to certain niches created by modernity.Are we a group that evolved in response to certain niches created by modernity? But modernity started in Northern Italy, France, Holland, England. We evolved in rural Eastern Europe.
The pic shows an example of coevolution. An orchid from Madagascar has a whip-shaped nectary eleven inches long, with a drop of nectar tucked away at its very base. Only an animal with a suitably long tongue can drink it. Darwin predicted that somewhere in Madagascar there must live just such an insect. Long after Darwin's death, the Madagascar hawkmoth was discovered.