The theory of evolution is one of the most important scientific theories in history. It explains the process by which species change over time, and it has been the subject of much debate and controversy since it was first introduced.

But who started this theory? Let’s take a closer look at the history of evolution.

Early Ideas About Evolution

The idea that species change over time is not a new one. In fact, it can be traced back to ancient Greek philosophers like Anaximander and Empedocles. However, it wasn’t until the 18th century that scientists began to develop more sophisticated ideas about evolution.

One of the earliest proponents of evolution was Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a French biologist who lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Lamarck believed that organisms could pass on traits that they acquired during their lifetimes to their offspring, a process known as “inheritance of acquired characteristics.” This idea is now known to be incorrect, but it was an important step towards our modern understanding of evolution.

Charles Darwin

However, it was Charles Darwin who really revolutionized our understanding of evolution. Darwin was an English naturalist who lived in the 19th century, and he spent years studying plant and animal life around the world.

In 1859, Darwin published his landmark book “On the Origin of Species,” which laid out his theory of natural selection. According to Darwin’s theory, organisms with advantageous traits are more likely to survive and reproduce than those without those traits. Over time, this leads to changes in a species’ characteristics and eventually to new species altogether.

Darwin’s theory caused quite a stir when it was first published, as it challenged traditional religious beliefs about how life on Earth came into being. However, over time his ideas became widely accepted by scientists around the world.

The Modern Synthesis

In the decades after Darwin’s death, scientists continued to refine and build on his ideas. In the 1930s and 1940s, a group of scientists known as the “modern synthesis” brought together Darwin’s theory of natural selection with new discoveries in genetics and other areas of biology.

Today, the theory of evolution is widely accepted by the scientific community as the best explanation we have for how life on Earth has changed over time. While there are still some who challenge or deny this theory, the overwhelming evidence supports it.


In conclusion, while early thinkers like Lamarck laid important groundwork for our modern understanding of evolution, it was Charles Darwin who really revolutionized our thinking about this topic. His theory of natural selection has been refined and built upon by generations of scientists since his time, leading to our current understanding of how life on Earth has changed over millions of years.