Natural selection - the history of an idea

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Natural selection - the history of an idea

  • origin of species - Charles Darwin 
  • 1859 sold out instantly. loads - controversy
  • biological species concept = species - groups interbreeding natural populations - reproductively isolated - other groups
  • "great chain of being" - Plato/Aristotle - smooth graduation between minerals+God
  • judeo-christian - each organism individually created, point time. species = unchanging. relationship = creator same - each species
  • natural theology - find meaning God - studying natural world
  • William Paley 1802 - living things complicated = designed
  • "Watchmaker analogy" - design implies designer
  • Carolus Linnaeus - binomial system
  • hierarchical classifications - species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, kingdom 
  • Linnaeus 1st thought species were fixed - creation. later considered species within genus - arisen since creation
  • relationships imply ancestry 
  • family tree implies each branches - common ancestor - branches meet
  • Erasmus Darwin view evolution - life striving improvement. Pioneers - industrial revolution - lunar society
  • evolution = descent with modification 
  • fossils - remains long extinct species
  • Georges Cuvier - fossil flying reptile (pterosaur) = extinct species
  • Cuvier - catastrophism - fossils extinct animals. Biblical flood
  • James Ussher (Archbishop) - age earth - calculating genealogies old testament = created Sunday 23rd October 4004BC
  • Charles Lyell - principles of geology - theory uniformitarianism = earth shaped gradual accumulation deposits forming rock - eroded. Processes balanced. age earth - millions years - scope evolution
  • Jean-Baptiste Lamarck - evolution occurred by inheritance acquired characteristics
  • theory derided - contemporary scientists. each cell contained information gained - lifetime - passed to offspring
  • Weissmann's rat experiment - designed debunk Lamarck
  • December 1831 - HMS Beagle set sail - map coast South America. Charles Darwin voyaged - naturalist+companion - captain 
    • earth very old
    • evolution = explanation fossil record+interrelatedness various organisms 
    • evolution still minority belief (Darwin didn't believe - transmutation 
    • no accepted way - evolution could occur
  • succession of types led Darwin - reject fixity of species
  • Richard Owen = foremost palaeontologist, Britain. Darwin's fossils of South American megafauna - related modern day armadillos+tree sloths
  • Darwin later cited - evidence - descent with modification 
  • Darwin collected specimens - Galapogas islands. told tortoises varied between islands. collected mockingbirds+finches - forgot label
  • John Gould - ornithologist - discovered mockingbirds+finches = separate species
  • Darwin noticed species on islands resembled - adjacent continent. species varied between adjacent islands 
  • Galapagos = young volcanic islands
  • Darwin returned - read - "Essay on the principle of population" 1798 - Thomas Malthus
  • Malthus = concerned about unfettered growth - human population - saw animals+plants produce more offspring than survive - resource limitation
  • population growth if left unchecked - mass starvation according - Malthus - population outstripped available resources
  • Darwin's return - Britain - ket notebooks developing theories of transmutation of species
  • began speculating about transmutation (evolution) of species - one species - another, over time
  • Darwin confided - Charles Lyell, Joseph Hooker, TH Huxley
  • 1830s+40s - huge political upheaval - chartist movement demanded universal suffrage+rights working classes. associated…

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