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History of Evolutionary Thinking

Evolution: hypothesis, fact, theory, scientific law.
Evolution is a fact in the sense that it is overwhelmingly validated by the evidence.
A scientific theory is "a wellsubstantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that
can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses".
Theories are…

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Xenophanes ­ the first to suggest that fossils in sedimentary rocks have previously been

People were not thinking about evolution so they thought that animal diversity originated from
different combinations of body parts.
Sometimes it went well (harmony) but things can also go wrong.
Illustrated by Bosch's painting The…

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He also suggested that humans and apes are related.
He hid his views in a 44 volume book series so avoided broad public criticism.
He asserted that species can change over generations but publically rejected the idea that species
could evolve into other species.
Insisted that natural phenomena must be…

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He suggested that the earth and life on it must have been evolving for "millions of ages before the
commencement of the history of mankind".

Charles Lyell was the foremost lawyer of his day.
Influenced by James Hutton who believed in gradual landscape transformation through
imperceptibly slow changes.
Champion of…


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