Evolution Revolution

  • Bishop Ussher

    Bishop Ussher
    Bishop Ussher pinpoints Creation at 4004 B.C. Using biblical chronology, Archbishop James Ussher of Ireland calculates that the creation of Heaven and Earth took place in 4004 B.C. Biblical passages provide Ussher with clues to the number of human generations -- and hence years --since Adam and Eve
  • Spontaneous Generation

    Spontaneous Generation
    A close-up view of "spontaneous generation." New instruments of magnification, including elegantly crafted microscopes, are fueling scientific research. The ancient question of whether life can arise from non-living matter now can be tackled in a new way.
  • Linnaeus´s

    Linnaeus's Systema Naturae charts life. Swedish botanist Carl von Linne, writing under the Latin name Linnaeus, attempts to classify all life on Earth. He publishes the first edition of Systema Naturae while in his late twenties, and continues refining the details throughout his life.
  • Comte de Bufon

    Comte de Bufon
    Comte de Buffon proposes radical ideas. Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon is one of the most respected naturalists of his era. Yet, in his Natural History, he makes a speculation that raises eyebrows; he writes that living creatures evolve according to natural laws.
  • Natural Theology

    Natural Theology
    Natural Theology views God through nature. Archdeacon William Paley's Natural Theology holds that not only God's existence but also his attributes are manifest in the intricate forms of nature.
  • Lamarck

    Lamarck champions evolution. French naturalist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck proposes that living things evolve to become more complex through time. In his Philosophie zoologique, Lamarck claims that "vital forces" within creatures help them adapt to their environments.
  • Cuvier

    Cuvier sees catastrophes in fossil record. The construction of canals and mines in the early 19th century unearths fossils of bizarre and extinct creatures. French naturalist Georges Cuvier attempts to explain them. He argues that a series of catastrophes -- great floods and earthquakes -- wiped out certain life in the distant past.
  • Lyell

    Lyell describes immense age of Earth. Most naturalists of the early 19th century think that the history of Earth -- and life on it -- spans vast ages. Charles Lyell helps further this idea by arguing that slow-moving, gradual processes explain Earth's geology.
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    Beagle Voyage

    Beagle voyage transforms Darwin. The voyage of the HMS Beagle -- which carries Charles Darwin to tropical forests, Andean peaks, and the Galapagos Islands -- is the most important experience of his life as a scientist.
  • Neanderthal

    Was Neanderthal Man a son of Adam? The unearthing of a fossil skull in Germany's Neander Valley fuels a debate over whether all humans are the direct descendants of Adam and Eve.
  • Wallace

    Wallace provokes Darwin to publish. Alfred Russel Wallace, a young British explorer, writes Darwin from Malaysia, seeking the older naturalist's advice. Wallace has a theory of how species might evolve. Darwin is shocked; Wallace has struck upon the theory of natural selection that Darwin has been researching for 20 years.
  • Origin of Species

    Origin of Species
    On the Origin of Species spurs a revolution. While far from the first work on evolution, Darwin's book (more fully entitled On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection) is the most influential.
  • Ape debate

    Ape debate
    Darwin's foes protest ape-man connection. While On the Origin of Species does not address human evolution, critics assume (correctly) that Darwin thinks humans are no exception.
  • Evolution Accepted

    Evolution Accepted
    Evolution accepted. Some prominent scientists continue to reject the idea of evolution, but only a few years after On the Origin of Species is published, evolution is mainstream science. Magazines and newspapers -- even religious publications -- promote evolution.
  • Decedent of man

    Decedent of man
    Darwin explores The Descent of Man. Unlike in On the Origin of Species, Darwin now unabashedly takes on human evolution.
  • Horse Fossils

    Horse Fossils
    Horse fossils reveal a story of evolution. Passionate advocate of evolutionary science Thomas Huxley journeys to the U.S. to give public lectures.
  • Darwin´s Burial

    Darwin´s Burial
    Darwin buried in Westminster Abbey. Darwin's body is laid to rest in a place of honor, near the grave of Sir Isaac Newton. His burial -- in the most prominent abbey in England -- is attended by Britain's leading politicians, scientists, and clergy.
  • Radioactivity

    Radioactivity points to an ancient Earth. The discovery of radioactivity by physicist Antoine Henri Becquerel leads to stunning calculations of Earth's age. Failure to understand radioactivity within Earth threw off earlier calculations.
  • Pilldown man

    Pilldown man
    Is Piltdown Man a "missing link"? Both critics and proponents of evolution eagerly await the discovery of a "missing link" between humans and other primates.
  • First anti evolution bill

    First anti evolution bill
    First anti-evolution bills passed. Spurred by William Jennings Bryan and a growing grassroots movement, six Southern and border states consider anti-evolution proposals.
  • Man like Ape

    Man like Ape
    Taungs "man-like ape" stirs fury. Raymond Dart announces that a prehistoric "man-like ape" has been found in a limestone quarry at Taungs, South Africa.
  • Textbook

    Biology textbooks censored. Fearing loss of sales in the South and West, publishers remove references to evolution from biology textbooks, including George William Hunter's A Civic Biology, the book at issue in the Scopes trial.
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    Anti-evolution bills

    Anti-evolution bills spread. In the years following the Scopes trial, some 35 new anti-evolution bills are proposed in 20 states, and three states pass laws.
  • Neo Darwinism

    Neo Darwinism
    Neo-Darwinism adds new facts to Darwin's theory. By the early 1940s, the science of genetics has offered profound new insights into evolution.
  • Evolution Shunned

    Evolution Shunned
    Evolution shunned in U.S. schools. With textbooks effectively censored by commercial concerns and many anti-evolutionist rulings and regulations in place, the teaching of evolution hits a low point.
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    Supreme court

    Supreme Court bans religion in public schools. For much of American history, the constitutional limit on the establishment of religion was interpreted to mean only that government should not give explicit preference to any denomination.
  • Pope pios XII

    Pope pios XII
    Pope Pius XII sees way to accept evolution. In his paper on human origins, Humani gereris, Pope Pius XII considers evolution as a serious hypothesis worthy of in-depth study.
  • Origins of Life

    Origins of Life
    Can origins of life be glimpsed in a lab? With electric currents to act as lightning and a soup of inorganic chemicals to simulate the conditions of ancient Earth, a young graduate student named Stanley Miller produces amino acids -- key chemical building blocks of life.
  • DNA

    DNA puzzle solved. Science has known for decades that genes determine the traits of living things and that they are passed down through generations.
  • Human and Apes

    Human and Apes
    A new view of humans and apes. Breakthroughs in genetic science allow researchers to see striking similarities in the DNA blueprints for humans and apes.
  • Supreme Court on Evolution

    Supreme Court on Evolution
    Supreme Court strikes law against evolution. In the wake of the Sputnik-era push for better science education, lawsuits begin challenging anti-evolutionist legislation in the South.
  • DNA codes

    DNA codes
    DNA codes offer new evidence of evolution. DNA, the genetic blueprint for living things, is like a text made up of chemical letters.
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    Textbook disclaimer

  • Pop John Paul II

    Pop John Paul II
    Pope John Paul II endorses evolution. John Paul II's papal letter proclaims there is no essential conflict between evolutionary science and the world's largest Christian faith.
  • Science Standards

    Science Standards
    Science standards called "reprehensible." A nationwide study sponsored by The Fordham Foundation laments that 19 U.S. states do "a weak-to-reprehensible job of handling evolution in their science standards.
  • Human Genome

    Human Genome
    Human genome reveals human evolution. With the first draft of the sequence of the human genome complete, scientists see more than ever before how intimately related the human species is to other life on Earth.