The theory of evolution is a widely accepted scientific concept that explains how species evolve over time. But, who first came up with this idea? Let’s take a journey through history to find out.

Early Ideas

The concept of evolution can be traced back to ancient Greek philosophers like Anaximander and Empedocles. They believed that all living things originated from a common ancestor and developed into different forms over time.

Charles Darwin

However, the most well-known figure associated with the theory of evolution is Charles Darwin. In the 19th century, he spent years studying animals and plants, collecting evidence to support his idea of natural selection.

Natural selection is the process by which certain traits become more or less common in a population due to their impact on survival and reproduction. The organisms with advantageous traits survive and pass down those traits to their offspring, while those without them are less likely to survive and reproduce.

Darwin’s book “On the Origin of Species” was published in 1859 and caused a stir in the scientific community. It presented compelling evidence for evolution and natural selection, challenging many long-held beliefs about creationism.

Alfred Russel Wallace

However, Darwin was not alone in his thinking. Another naturalist named Alfred Russel Wallace independently developed similar ideas about evolution around the same time as Darwin.

In fact, it was Wallace’s own research on natural selection that prompted Darwin to finally publish his own work on the subject. The two scientists eventually presented their findings together at a scientific meeting in London in 1858.


So, who first discovered the theory of evolution? While many people throughout history have contributed to our understanding of how species change over time, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace are typically credited with developing the modern concept of natural selection.

Their work laid the foundation for further research and study, leading to our current understanding of evolution as a key concept in biology.