Carolus Linnaeus, also known as Carl von Linné, was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, and physician who is widely regarded as the father of modern taxonomy. His theory of evolution laid the foundation for the field of biological classification that we know today. In this article, we’ll explore what Linnaeus’s theory of evolution was and how it has influenced our understanding of the natural world.

Linnaeus’s Classification System

Before we dive into Linnaeus’s theory of evolution, it’s important to understand his classification system. Linnaeus developed a hierarchical system for organizing living things based on their physical characteristics.

He classified organisms into categories such as kingdom, class, order, family, genus, and species. This system is still used today and has been expanded upon to include even more specific categories.

Linnaeus’s Theory of Evolution

Linnaeus believed that all living things were created by God and that they were unchanging. However, he did recognize that organisms could adapt to their environment in certain ways. For example, he observed that plants could change their growth patterns based on the amount of sunlight they received.

Despite this belief in a fixed creation, some scholars argue that Linnaeus may have had some ideas about evolution before the concept was fully developed. In his book “Systema Naturae,” he wrote about the similarities between different species and how they could be grouped together based on those similarities. This suggests that he may have recognized patterns of variation within species and understood that they were related to each other in some way.

The Influence of Linnaeus

Regardless of whether or not Linnaeus had specific ideas about evolution as we understand it today, his work laid the foundation for our understanding of biodiversity and biological classification. Today, scientists continue to build upon his classification system and use it to study the relationships between different species.

Linnaeus’s work also had a significant impact on the field of botany. He classified thousands of plants and developed a system for naming them that is still used today.

His binomial nomenclature system, which uses two Latin words to name each species (e.g. Homo sapiens for humans), allows scientists all over the world to communicate about specific organisms without confusion.


In conclusion, Carolus Linnaeus’s theory of evolution was based on the idea that all living things were created by God and were unchanging, but could adapt in certain ways. While he may not have had specific ideas about evolution as we understand it today, his work laid the foundation for modern biological classification and has had a significant impact on both botany and zoology.