History of Evolutionary Thought and Inspiring Darwin

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Throughout the levels of school, when the subject of evolution is taught, Charles Darwin is the only person we learn about. No other evolutionist is brought up. Unless the student decides to further their knowledge in the subject, they probably would not know that Charles Darwin based his theories off of several scholars before him.
Contrary to many assumptions, evolutionary theory did not begin with Charles Darwin in 1859. Actually, ideas similar to evolution had existed since the times of the Ancient Greeks. The idea of evolution teetered in and out between the time of the Greeks and Victorian England. In Darwin's time, evolution was called “descent with modification”(Thinkquest.org). During the eighteenth century, two church officials provided convincing biblical explanations for biological diversity; Separate Creation: the idea that all creatures have been created uniquely by God and organized into a hierarchy with man ranking just below God, and stating the earth is 6,000 years old (berkeley.edu./history/buffon).
The average person usually does not question 2,000 years of beliefs, but that is what Buffon did: 100 years before Darwin. Buffon, in his encyclopedia called Historie Naturelle, he describes everything known in the natural world, strained the similarities between humans and apes and even talked about common ancestry. Although Buffon believed in organic change, he did not provide a reasonable mechanism for such changes. He thought the environment acted directly on organisms through what he called "organic particles". Buffon also published Les Epoques de la Nature(1788) where he suggests that the planet is much older than the 6,000 years the church had previously said (berkeley.edu./history/buffon).
Jean Baptiste ...

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...k their ideas and was able to find a theory that worked. There are so many more scientists who contributed to the idea of evolution, but I feel like these three were important. Buffon realized a connection between humans and apes. Lamarck had the idea of heredity, and Malthus was a major influence in Darwin's breakthrough in evolution.

Work Cited
Evolution before Darwin" Thinkquest.org. 01 2000. 01 2014 .
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788)"berkeley.edu./history/buffon 10 1995. 01 2014 http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/buffon2.html>.
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829)"berkeley.edu./history/lamarck 10 1995. 01 2014 .
Thomas Malthus (1766-1834)"berkeley.edu/history/malthus. 10 1995. 01 2014 .

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