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CHARLES DARWIN AND THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION It is commonly thought today that the theory of evolution originated from Darwin in the nineteenth century However the idea that species mutate over time has been around for time in one form or another Therefore by Darwins time the idea that species change type into another was by no means new but was rejected by most because the evolution could not come up with a satisfactory mechanism that would explain this change The most influential evolutionary theories prior to Darwin were those of Lamarck and Geoffroy St Hilaire developed between 1794 and 1830 Lamarck suggested that species through the use or disuse of particular organs In the classic example a giraffe that neck slightly to reach higher leaves will gain in neck length and this small gain would be on to its offspring Geoffroy on the other hand suggested that the change was large in magnitude and occurred at the production of offspring However these theories evolution were based on a priori explanations that offered no demonstrated mechanism Darwins theory of evolution differs in that it is based on three easily verified observations First individuals within a species vary from one another in morphology physiology and behavior Second variation is in some part heritable so that
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