Evolution by natural selection is a fundamental scientific concept that explains how species evolve over time. This theory has been around for more than a hundred years, and it has undergone significant changes and improvements as new evidence has emerged.

But who was the person who first introduced this revolutionary idea to the world? Let’s take a closer look at the history of natural selection.

What is Evolution by Natural Selection?

Evolution by natural selection is the process by which living things change over time due to differences in their traits or characteristics. Those organisms that possess traits that are advantageous for survival and reproduction are more likely to pass those traits on to their offspring. Over many generations, these advantageous traits become more common in a population, eventually leading to the formation of new species.

Who Discovered Natural Selection?

The idea of natural selection was first proposed by Charles Darwin, an English naturalist, and biologist. In 1859, Darwin published his book “On the Origin of Species,” where he presented his theory of evolution by natural selection.

In his book, Darwin argued that all living things have descended from a common ancestor through a process called descent with modification. He proposed that variations in traits within a population arise through random mutations, and those individuals with advantageous traits are more likely to survive and reproduce than those without these traits.

Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was revolutionary because it challenged traditional beliefs about the origins of life on earth. It provided an explanation for how complex organisms could evolve from simpler ones over long periods of time without any divine intervention.

The Role of Alfred Russel Wallace

Although Darwin is credited with discovering the theory of evolution by natural selection, it’s important to note that he was not working alone. Another scientist named Alfred Russel Wallace independently came up with a very similar theory around the same time as Darwin.

Wallace was also a naturalist and biologist who had spent many years studying the flora and fauna of the Amazon rainforest. In 1858, he sent a letter to Darwin outlining his theory of evolution by natural selection. This letter prompted Darwin to finally publish his own book on the subject.


In conclusion, Charles Darwin is the scientist who is credited with discovering the theory of evolution by natural selection. However, it’s important to remember that science is rarely the result of one person’s work alone. Alfred Russel Wallace also played a significant role in developing this theory, and without his contribution, our understanding of evolution may have been very different today.

The concept of evolution by natural selection has come a long way since its inception, but it remains one of the most important scientific theories in existence today. The study of evolution has helped us understand how living things have changed over time, and it continues to inform our understanding of biology and genetics.