History of evolutionary thought

evolutionary theoryevolutionevolutionary thoughtevolutionaryevolutionary theoriesmutability of speciespanselectionismevolutionary theoristevolutionary thinkerHistory of evolutionary biology
Evolutionary thought, the recognition that species change over time and the perceived understanding of how such processes work, has roots in antiquity – in the ideas of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Chinese as well as in medieval Islamic science.wikipedia
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On the Origin of Species

The Origin of SpeciesOrigin of SpeciesOn the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection
In 1858 Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace published a new evolutionary theory, explained in detail in Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859).
Various evolutionary ideas had already been proposed to explain new findings in biology.

The eclipse of Darwinism

eclipse of Darwinismduring Darwinism's lowest ebba time when Darwinism was at a low ebb
Alternatives to natural selection suggested during "the eclipse of Darwinism" (c.
Historians of science such as Peter J. Bowler have used the same phrase as a label for the period within the history of evolutionary thought from the 1880s to around 1920, when alternatives to natural selection were developed and explored—as many biologists considered natural selection to have been a wrong guess on Charles Darwin's part, or at least as of relatively minor importance.

Sewall Wright

WrightSewall G. WrightS. Wright
Mendelian genetics, a series of 19th-century experiments with pea plant variations rediscovered in 1900, was integrated with natural selection by Ronald Fisher, J. B. S. Haldane, and Sewall Wright during the 1910s to 1930s, and resulted in the founding of the new discipline of population genetics.
Sewall Green Wright (December 21, 1889 – March 3, 1988) was an American geneticist known for his influential work on evolutionary theory and also for his work on path analysis.

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

LamarckLam.Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck
In the early 19th century Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829) proposed his theory of the transmutation of species, the first fully formed theory of evolution.
Lamarck's contribution to evolutionary theory consisted of the first truly cohesive theory of biological evolution, in which an alchemical complexifying force drove organisms up a ladder of complexity, and a second environmental force adapted them to local environments through use and disuse of characteristics, differentiating them from other organisms.

Transmutation of species

transmutationtransformismtransmutationism
In the early 19th century Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829) proposed his theory of the transmutation of species, the first fully formed theory of evolution.
The debate over them was an important stage in the history of evolutionary thought and would influence the subsequent reaction to Darwin's theory.

Evolutionary psychology

evolutionary psychologistevolutionary psychologistsevolutionary
Discoveries in evolutionary biology have made a significant impact not just within the traditional branches of biology, but also in other academic disciplines (for example: anthropology and psychology) and on society at large.
Proponents suggest that it seeks to integrate psychology into the other natural sciences, rooting it in the organizing theory of biology (evolutionary theory), and thus understanding psychology as a branch of biology.

Biology

biologicalBiological Sciencesbiologist
Debate over Darwin's work led to the rapid acceptance of the general concept of evolution, but the specific mechanism he proposed, natural selection, was not widely accepted until it was revived by developments in biology that occurred during the 1920s through the 1940s.
Although he was opposed to evolution, Buffon is a key figure in the history of evolutionary thought; his work influenced the evolutionary theories of both Lamarck and Darwin.

Molecular evolution

chemical evolutionprotein evolutionevolution
After the rise of molecular genetics in the 1950s, the field of molecular evolution developed, based on protein sequences and immunological tests, and later incorporating RNA and DNA studies.
In the late 1960s, the neutral theory of molecular evolution provided a theoretical basis for the molecular clock, though both the clock and the neutral theory were controversial, since most evolutionary biologists held strongly to panselectionism, with natural selection as the only important cause of evolutionary change.

Robert Chambers (publisher, born 1802)

Robert ChambersRobertChambers
In 1844, the Scottish publisher Robert Chambers anonymously published an extremely controversial but widely read book entitled Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation.
Robert Chambers (10 July 1802 – 17 March 1871) was a Scottish publisher, geologist, evolutionary thinker, author and journal editor who, like his elder brother and business partner William Chambers, was highly influential in mid-19th century scientific and political circles.

Peter J. Bowler

Bowler, Peter J.Peter BowlerP. J. Bowler
However, as historian of science Peter J. Bowler says, "Through a combination of bold theorizing and comprehensive evaluation, Darwin came up with a concept of evolution that was unique for the time."
Peter J. Bowler (born 8 October 1944) is a historian of biology who has written extensively on the history of evolutionary thought, the history of the environmental sciences, and on the history of genetics.

Tree of life (biology)

tree of lifetree of descentevolutionary tree
Unlike Lamarck, Darwin proposed common descent and a branching tree of life, meaning that two very different species could share a common ancestor.

Natural history

naturalistnaturalistsnatural historian
With the beginnings of modern biological taxonomy in the late 17th century, two opposed ideas influenced Western biological thinking: essentialism, the belief that every species has essential characteristics that are unalterable, a concept which had developed from medieval Aristotelian metaphysics, and that fit well with natural theology; and the development of the new anti-Aristotelian approach to modern science: as the Enlightenment progressed, evolutionary cosmology and the mechanical philosophy spread from the physical sciences to natural history.

Zhuang Zhou

ZhuangziChuang TzuZhuang Zi
Ancient Chinese thinkers such as Zhuang Zhou (c.
The 20th century Chinese philosopher and essayist Hu Shih considered Zhuangzi a Chinese forerunner of evolution.

Charles Darwin

DarwinDarwinianCharles Robert Darwin
In 1858 Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace published a new evolutionary theory, explained in detail in Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859).

The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex

The Descent of ManDescent of ManThe Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex
In 1871, Darwin published The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, which contained his views on human evolution.
The book discusses many related issues, including evolutionary psychology, evolutionary ethics, differences between human races, differences between sexes, the dominant role of women in mate choice, and the relevance of the evolutionary theory to society.

Denis Diderot

DiderotDiderot, DenisDiderot of China
Another French philosopher, Denis Diderot, also wrote that living things might have first arisen through spontaneous generation, and that species were always changing through a constant process of experiment where new forms arose and survived or not based on trial and error; an idea that can be considered a partial anticipation of natural selection.
Science historian Conway Zirkle has written that Diderot was an early evolutionary thinker and noted that his passage that described natural selection was "so clear and accurate that it almost seems that we would be forced to accept his conclusions as a logical necessity even in the absence of the evidence collected since his time."

Samuel Butler (novelist)

Samuel ButlerButlerButler, Samuel
Advocates of this position included the British writer and Darwin critic Samuel Butler, the German biologist Ernst Haeckel, and the American paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope.
In other studies he examined Christian orthodoxy, evolutionary thought, and Italian art, and made prose translations of the Iliad and Odyssey that are still consulted today.

Alternatives to evolution by natural selection

non-Darwinian evolutionAlternatives to Darwinismalternative theories
Alternatives to natural selection suggested during "the eclipse of Darwinism" (c.

Johann Gottfried Herder

HerderJohann Gottfried von HerderJohann Herder
In contrast, most contemporary theories of evolution, such of those of Gottfried Leibniz and Johann Gottfried Herder, regarded evolution as a fundamentally spiritual process.
Herder has been described as a proto-evolutionary thinker by some science historians, although this has been disputed by others.

Modern synthesis (20th century)

modern synthesismodern evolutionary synthesisevolutionary synthesis
During the 1930s and 1940s population genetics became integrated with other biological fields, resulting in a widely applicable theory of evolution that encompassed much of biology—the modern synthesis.

James Burnett, Lord Monboddo

Lord MonboddoJames BurnettMonboddo
Between 1767 and 1792, James Burnett, Lord Monboddo, included in his writings not only the concept that man had descended from primates, but also that, in response to the environment, creatures had found methods of transforming their characteristics over long time intervals.
However, some modern evolutionary historians do not give Monboddo an equally high standing in the influence of history of evolutionary thought.

Evolutionary history of life

Prehistoric lifeevolutionary historyhistory of life
Paleontology and comparative anatomy allowed more detailed reconstructions of the evolutionary history of life.

History of molecular evolution

relatedness and age of populations and speciesclassical/balance controversyneutralist-selectionist debate
The molecular-clock hypothesis and the neutral theory were particularly controversial, spawning the [[History of molecular evolution#The neutralist-selectionist debate and near-neutrality|neutralist-selectionist debate]] over the relative importance of mutation, drift and selection, which continued into the 1980s without a clear resolution.
In the late 1960s, the neutral theory of molecular evolution provided a theoretical basis for the molecular clock, though both the clock and the neutral theory were controversial, since most evolutionary biologists held strongly to panselectionism, with natural selection as the only important cause of evolutionary change.

Lamarckism

Lamarckianinheritance of acquired characteristicsneo-Lamarckism
In the early 19th century Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829) proposed his theory of the transmutation of species, the first fully formed theory of evolution.
The period of the history of evolutionary thought between Darwin's death in the 1880s, and the foundation of population genetics in the 1920s and the beginnings of the modern evolutionary synthesis in the 1930s, is called the eclipse of Darwinism by some historians of science.

Ernst Haeckel

HaeckelErnst Heinrich HaeckelHaeckel, Ernst
Advocates of this position included the British writer and Darwin critic Samuel Butler, the German biologist Ernst Haeckel, and the American paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope. An exception to this was Germany, where both August Weismann and Ernst Haeckel championed this idea: Haeckel used evolution to challenge the established tradition of metaphysical idealism in German biology, much as Huxley used it to challenge natural theology in Britain.
Although Haeckel's ideas are important to the history of evolutionary theory, and although he was a competent invertebrate anatomist most famous for his work on radiolaria, many speculative concepts that he championed are now considered incorrect.