The Father Of Evolutionary Theory


Surprise! It’s NOT Darwin.

The theories of natural selection and evolution had been bandied about for several centuries before Charles Darwin even boarded The Beagle in 1831. The naturalist Lamarck, the paleontologists Cuiver and Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire as well as the geologist Charels Lyelle were among those who were concerned heavily with evolutionary theory.

Even prior to that time period, as far back as the Greek Philosophers Anaximandr and Empedocles had outlined what was called a theory of adaptation. In fact, de Maillet, Leibniz and even Newton at one time had all hinted at “the great chain of being”. Even fellow naturalists and scientists George Buffton and Carolus Linnaeus had debated the immutability of species in the 18th century.

Darwinian theory was so popular amongst the educated that a full year before Darwin published “The Origin of Species” appeared, an obscure naturalist by the name of Alfred Wallace sent Darwin a paper in which Darwin’s own theory of evolution, including his own distinctive ideas of the process of natural selection  was outlined in very precise exactness.

Darwin treated this paper honorably and suggested that he and Wallace submit the paper as co-collaborators. Thus Darwin and Wallace can be seen as joint “originators” of the theory. Though Wallace had been known to have said that without Darwin’s massive body of evidence gathered from the Galapagos Islands, his own theory probably would have simply been dismissed as a mild curiosity.

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1 Comment

  1. July 4, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Keep up the good work, I like your writing.


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