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Who Was the First to Posit the Theory of Evolution?

Charles Darwin is known for the theory of evolution he put forth in 1859, but French naturalist Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck was actually the first person to posit the theory of evolution. While studying invertebrates, such as spiders and worms, Lamarck noticed changes in their fossils over time. This led him to develop a theory of evolution, in which he stated that organisms change in order to survive in their environments. For example, his theory stated that a giraffe's neck gradually became longer as it frequently stretched for leaves, and it would pass the longer neck on to its offspring. Lamarck’s theory was that this would continue from generation to generation until the species became “perfect.”

More about Jean Baptiste Lamarck:

  • Lamarck began studying natural sciences after he was discharged from the military because of a neck injury that occurred when a fellow soldier lifted him by the head as a practical joke.

  • The word "invertebrate" is often credited as having been invented by Lamarck.

  • Lamarck’s theory of evolution was not well respected during his time because he did not believe that deity was involved in creation. His death notice did not include information about his contributions to evolutionary theory.

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Discuss this Article

Viranty
Post 3

@RoyalSpyder - Agreed. I can even give you several examples of how this is true. Though some cats are domesticated, they still have their claws and great senses, which allows them to hunt and climb trees. As a different example, bats have their sonar vision, especially considering how they can't see well. Finally, snakes normally don't chew their food, but they don't have to. Their coils are strong enough to crush their opponents, and it allows them to swallow their prey whole. And to think, I haven't even scratched the surface.

RoyalSpyder
Post 2

I will admit that Charles Darwin makes some very interesting points about evolution, and in a lot of ways, he is correct. In the similar manner in which giraffes use their long necks to reach for leaves, all (if not most) animals have some way of adapting to their environment.

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