Lamarcks Influence Upon Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection

Lamarcks Influence Upon Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection

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There have been many ideas on the theory of evolution. Some simply take our
existence for granted, others prefer to explain all evolution in terms of the
bible and the presence of a God. However, there are those who have researched
the topic of evolution and have offered an explanation as to where a species
comes from and how they evolved in the manner that they did. This type of
science has been studied for a very long time, and one of the most famous
minds in the field of evolution was a man named Charles Darwin. Darwin was not
the first one to offer theories on evolution. There have been many scientists
who preceded him. These earlier evolutionists came up with models of evolution
that were unfortunately unworkable. One of these early pioneers was Jean-
Baptiste Lamarck. Lamarck believed in deism and advocated natural religion based
on human reason. He believed in the harmony and rationality of the world. And
although flawed, the work of Lamarck did not go unnoticed, however. Darwin also
believed in the harmony of the world, and it was Darwin himself who said that
Lamarck was the first man whose conclusions on evolution brought about
excitement and attention. He was the one who showed law in organic and inorganic
species evolution. As it turned out, the work of Lamarck was quite influential
on Darwin. Lamarck's views on inheritance of characteristics can be seen in
Darwin's accounts of natural selection. When Lamarck wrote of transmutation,
Darwin followed with his beliefs of the mutability of species. As well, Darwin
had used Lamarck's ideas on use and disuse of organs. Lamarck was not the
greatest of influences on Darwin, but he was an important one.

One of the most important arguments in Darwin's theories was the idea of natural
selection. It is generally thought that the world first heard of this idea in
the form of Lamarck's inheritance of acquired traits theory. Lamarck's work
showed that organisms improve themselves on their own. Then these new advantages
for the environment would be passed on to the species offspring on the genetic
level. This idea of self improvement detailed how, through hard work of the
organism, the path of evolution was continuous, always improving to the point of
perfection. Lamarck had said that organisms must first be faced with a different
mode of environment that would trigger some sort ...

... middle of paper ...

...use and disuse of internal structures
can be seen in the preliminary ground work of Darwin's theory of natural
selection, mutation of species and use and disuse of an organisms body parts.
Darwin had revolutionized the belief in evolution, and in doing so, he had
brought back some theories that were not all that popular when they were first
introduced. Great minds like Lamarck had influenced Darwin to show the world
where it originated, and how it progressed through the ages.


1. Corsi, P., "The age of Lamarck", University of California Press LTD,
Berkeley and California, 1988

2. Gould, S.J., "The Panda's Thumb", W.W. Norton and Company Inc. New York,

3. Gould, S.J., "The Flamingo's Smile", W.W. Norton and Company Inc. New York,

4. Mayr, E., "One Long Argument:Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern
Evolutionary Thought", Harvard University Press, Cambridge Massachusetts,

5. Ospovat, D., "The Development of Darwin's Theory", Cambridge University
Press, New York, 1981

6. "Index of the Origin of Species" Internet, http//

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