Heredity, Natural Selection, and Evolution

Highlights of Evolution

What were early ideas on evolution?

In the 1700s, “natural theology” (the explanation of life as the manifestation of the creator’s plan) was a popular belief in Europe. This idea was the motive force behind the work of Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus (Carl von Linné, 1707–1778), who was the first to classify all known living things by kingdom. Also popular prior to the work of Charles Darwin (1809–1882) were the theories of “special creation” (creationism), “blending inheritance” (that offspring were always the mixture of the traits of their two parents), and “acquired characteristics.”


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