Evolutionhumans

The History of Evolutionary Biology

  • Birth of John Ray

    Birth of John Ray
    Essex, England
  • Period: to

    History of Evolutionary Biology

  • John Ray Provides First Biological Definition of "Species"

    John Ray Provides First Biological Definition of "Species"
    (Exact Date Unknown) In his 1686 "History of Plants", John Ray provides the first documented definition of the term "species". In his work, Ray describes a species as "a set of individuals who give rise through reproduction to new individuals similar to themselves".
  • John Ray Publishes Final Voume of "Histora Plantarum"

    John Ray Publishes Final Voume of "Histora Plantarum"
    (Exact Date Unknown) John Ray publishes "Histora Plantarum", a complete classification system for plants based on anatomy and physiology, rather than origin and function. John Ray's classification system was crucial in the future development of taxonomy, as it inspired and was extended by Carolus Linnaeus.
  • Death of John Ray

    Death of John Ray
    Essex, England
  • Birth of Carolus Linnaeus

    Birth of Carolus Linnaeus
    Älmhult Municipality, Sweden
  • Birth of Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon

    Birth of Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon
    Montbard, Burgundy
  • Birth of James Hutton

    Birth of James Hutton
    Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Birth of Erasmus Darwin

    Birth of Erasmus Darwin
    Elston, Nottinghamshire
  • Jean-Baptiste Lamarck is Born

    Jean-Baptiste Lamarck is Born
    Bazentin, Picardy
  • "Histoire Naturelle" by Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon is Published

    "Histoire Naturelle" by Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon is Published
    Buffon is known to be one of the first to publiclly challenge the then-common idea that species are unchanging. In his 44 volume compilation, Buffon recognized, through the similarities between aps and humans, that the two may have had a common ancestor.
  • "Species Plantarum" is Published by Carolus Linnaeus

    "Species Plantarum" is Published by Carolus Linnaeus
    (Exact Date Unknown) Linnaeus publishes "Species Plantarum" in 1753, in which he begins the primary starting point of plant nomenclature as it exists today. Also, it is in this very publication in which he first beganusing a one-word "trivial name" together with a generic name in a system of binomial nomenclature.
  • Charles Lyell is Born

    Charles Lyell is Born
    Angus, Scotland
  • Birth of Georges Cuvier

    Birth of Georges Cuvier
    Montbéliard, France
  • Death of Carolus Linnaeus

    Death of Carolus Linnaeus
    Uppsala, Sweden
  • "Theory of the Earth" by James Hutton is Published

    "Theory of the Earth" by James Hutton is Published
    (Exact Date Unknown) In 1785, James Hutton's work "Theory of the Earth" is published. Although Hutton initially did not receive worldwide attention until Charles Lyell's multi-volume “Principles of Geology” was published, Hutton is often credited for establishing the basis of modern geology. One important theory by Hutton in “Theory of the Earth” is his original theory of uniformitarianism, stating that geological processes operate at the same rates in the past as they do in the present.
  • Death of Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon

    Death of Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon
    Paris, France
  • [1] Erasmus Darwin's Book "Zoonomia" is Published

    [1] Erasmus Darwin's Book "Zoonomia" is Published
    (Exact Date Unknown) In Erasmus Darwin’s book “Zoonomia”, he brings forth multiples theories of evolution and the origin of species. One theory that stood out in particular explained that all life had evolved from a single ancestor, but eventually, through change, “branched off”, resulting in the species diversity we observe today. Although, akin to his grandson Charles Darwin’s beliefs, Erasmus also believed that the transformation of species was driven by selection and competition. However,
  • [2] Erasmus Darwin's Book "Zoonomia" is Published

    [2] Erasmus Darwin's Book "Zoonomia" is Published
    unlike his successful grandson’s theories, Erasmus Darwin had no biological evidence to support his arguments.
  • [1] Catastrophism is Introduced by Georges Cuvier

    [1] Catastrophism is Introduced by Georges Cuvier
    (Exact Date Unknown) Cuvier is credited with developing paleontology, otherwise known as the study of ancient life through the examination of preserved remains. Cuvier realized, through the study and search for fossils, that each layer of rock (also known as stratum) contains a unique group of fossils. In these strata, he came to realize that the deeper (and older) the stratum, the less similarities he found between the fossil species and modern species. Near the end of his 1796 paper on living
  • [2] Catastrophism is Introduced by Georges Cuvier

    [2] Catastrophism is Introduced by Georges Cuvier
    1796 paper on living and fossil elephants, Cuvier introduces catastrophism. Cuvier’s idea involves the thought that catastrophes such as diseases and natural disasters such as floods and droughts periodically destroy species living in a specific area, allowing other species from other neighboring regions to repopulate the area. Using catastrophism, Cuvier was able to successfully explain the finding of fossil species that are no longer in existence.
  • Death of James Hutton

    Death of James Hutton
    Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Birth of Mary Anning

    Birth of Mary Anning
    Dorset, England
  • Death of Erasmus Darwin

    Death of Erasmus Darwin
    Breadsall, Derby
  • Charles Darwin is born

    Charles Darwin is born
    Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England.
  • [1] "Philosophie Zoologique" by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck is Published

    [1] "Philosophie Zoologique" by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck is Published
    (Exact Date Unknown) Philosophie Zoologique, a publication by Lamarck, showed his observations on the connections between modern species and fossilized species. In his work, Lamarck explains a "line of descent" from which fossilized remains progress to modern species. Lamarck also believed that organisms would continually adapt to their own environments, an idea that he called “inheritance of acquired characteristics”. In addition, Lamarck strategized the idea of “use” and “disuse”, where body p
  • [2] "Philosophie Zoologique" by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck is Published

    [2] "Philosophie Zoologique" by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck is Published
    “use” and “disuse”, where body parts that were unused by the organism would eventually disappear. Prior to knowledge of DNA and gell biology, Lamarck noted that adaptions could be inherited by offspring.
  • Marie Anning Finds First Ichthyosaur

    Marie Anning Finds First Ichthyosaur
    (Exact Date Unknown) At the tender age of 12, Anning and her brother, Joseph, dug up the first ichthyosaur skull to be correctly identified. Over the course of a few months, Anning found the rest of the skeleton. The skeleton was later sold to Henry Hoste Henley for around £23. It was, years later, sold for £45 at an auction in May 1819, where it was marketed as a "Crocodile in a Fossil State". It’s winning bidder, Charles Konig, of the British Museum, suggested the name Ichthyosaurus.
  • Gregor Mendel is Born

    Gregor Mendel is Born
    Heinzendorf bei Odrau, Austrian Empire
  • Birth of Alfred Russel Wallace

    Birth of Alfred Russel Wallace
    Monmouthshire, Wales
  • Belemnite Fossil is Discovered by Mary Anning

    Belemnite Fossil is Discovered by Mary Anning
    (Exact Date Unknown) Belemnite fossil is found by Mary Anning, and dried ink is discovered inside the remains. Anning, who had previously studied various cephalopods to fully understand the structure of her marine fossils, noted how closely the sacs of the fossilized organisms resembled the sacs of modern cephalopods, such as squid. This information lead herself and William Buckland to conclude that Jurassic Belemnites used ink for defensive purposes just as modern cephalopods did.
  • Death of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

    Death of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
    Paris, France
  • Uniformitarianism is Proposed by Charles Lyell

    Uniformitarianism is Proposed by Charles Lyell
    (Exact Date Unknown) In Lyell's work "Principals of Geology", Charles Lyell introduces uniformitarianism. Based on the works of James Hutton, Lyell reasons that geological processes operate at the same rates in the past as they do in the present. In addition, Lyell reasoned that long and slow processes could cause substantial changes. Lyell’s ideas were the basis of inspiration for Charles Darwin and many others.
  • Darwin's Voyage Begins

    Darwin's Voyage Begins
    Darwin begins his five year voyage on HMS Beagle, and is the ship’s naturalist. During this journey, Darwin studies natural history and makes discoveries which direct to his now-accepted theory of natural selection. One of his more vital discoveries was on his stop to the Galapagos Islands. Darwin had determined that the finches on the different islands were of the same subfamily of birds (Subfamily Geospizinae) but had developed different beaks depending on their habitual environment and diet.
  • Death of Georges Cuvier

    Death of Georges Cuvier
    Montbéliard, France
  • Death of Mary Anning

    Death of Mary Anning
    Mary Anning passes due to succumbing to breast cancer at the age of 47. Dorset, England.
  • [1] Gregor Mendel Begins Studying Heredity

    [1] Gregor Mendel Begins Studying Heredity
    (Exact Date Unknown) Around 1854, Gregor Mendel, now known as the "father of genetics", begins his study of heredity in hybrid plants. During Mendel’s studies, it was accepted that the hereditary traits of the offspring was a mix of the characteristics that had came from the parent organism. It was also accepted that over multiple generations, the organism would revert to its original form, an implication that had suggested that change could not occur in the genetic material of organisms. Mendel
  • [2] Gregor Mendel Begins Studying Heredity

    [2] Gregor Mendel Begins Studying Heredity
    in his studies, cross-fertilized pea plants and came to the conclusion that there are dominant and recessive traits that are randomly passed to the offspring (also called the Law of Segregation).
  • Alfred Russel Wallace Sends "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type"

    Alfred Russel Wallace Sends "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type"
    (Exact Date Unknown) Wallace authored many books on evolution and natural history. In 1858, Wallace sent Darwin an essay titled “On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type”, which gave a full account of the theory of natural selection. This essay sent Darwin into a panic, as he had been working on the same accounts for nearly 20 years, but had not yet published. Inspiration and data for this essay was gathered through a voyage to Brazil Wallace had taken in 1848.
  • "On the Origin of Species"

    "On the Origin of Species"
    Darwin publishes "On the Origin of Species", a work considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology by many. This piece of scientific literature brings forth the theory that species evolve, over the course of several generations, through the process of natural selection. In addition, Darwin proposes that all organisms have stemmed from common anscestors.
  • Death of Charles Lyell

    Death of Charles Lyell
    London, England.
  • Death of Charles Darwin

    Death of Charles Darwin
    Charles Darwin dies (aged 73) in Downe, Kent, United Kingdom.
  • Death of Gregor Mendel

    Death of Gregor Mendel
    Brünn, Austria-Hungary
  • Ernst Mayr is Born

    Ernst Mayr is Born
    Kempten, Germany
  • Death of Alfred Russel Wallace

    Death of Alfred Russel Wallace
    Broadstone, Dorset
  • Birth of Lynn Margulis

    Birth of  Lynn Margulis
    Chicago, Illinois
  • [1] "Systematics and the Origin of Species" by Ernst Mayr is Published

    [1] "Systematics and the Origin of Species" by Ernst Mayr is Published
    (Exact Date Unknown) In this publication, Mayr, sometimes referred to as the “Darwin of the 20th Century”, gives a new modern definition of “species”. In his work, he writes that he wrote a species is a group of organisms that are able to successfully interbreed only among themselves. This was contrary to the previous accepted definition of “species”, which had defined the term as morphologically similar individuals. In addition, he expands on the process of the formation of a new species. He
  • [2] "Systematics and the Origin of Species" by Ernst Mayr is Published

    [2] "Systematics and the Origin of Species" by Ernst Mayr is Published
    states that creation of a new species occurs when populations within a species are pressured by geography, mate selection, etc, and begin to differ through genetic drift and natural selection.
  • Robert T. Bakker is Born

    Robert T. Bakker is Born
    Bergen County, New Jersey
  • "Origin of Eukaryotic Cells" is Published

    "Origin of Eukaryotic Cells" is Published
    (Exact Date Unknown) "Origin of Eukaryotic Cells" was a book by Lynn Margulis, explaining her endosymbiotic theory. In this theory, mitochondria and chloroplasts, two important organelles of eukaryotic cells, are descendants of free-living bacterial species, due to them having their own genetic material. At the time, her theory was disregarded, but over time, it has been widely accepted.
  • Michael S. Engel is Born

    Michael S. Engel is Born
    Creve Coeur, Missouri U.S.
  • Robert T. Bakker Publishes Article "Dinosaur Renaissance"

    Robert T. Bakker Publishes Article "Dinosaur Renaissance"
    Robert T. Bakker is an American paleontologist who is best known for providing valid evidence for the theory that some dinosaurs maybe have been endothermic (warm-blooded). With his mentor John Ostrom, Bakker instigated a "dinosaur renaissance" in paleontological studies, through Bakker's article "Dinosaur Renaissance" published in April 1975. Bakker was among the advisors for the film Jurassic Park.
  • Death of Ernst Mayr

    Death of Ernst Mayr
    Bedford, Massachusetts
  • Michael S. Engel Recieves Bicentenary Medal From The Linnean Society of London

    Michael S. Engel Recieves Bicentenary Medal From The Linnean Society of London
    (Exact Date Unknown) Engel is one of the best-known paleontologists in North America. With a B.S. in Cellular Biology, a B.A. in Chemistry, and a Ph.D. in Entomology, Michael S. Engel has published over 450 scientific journals. He has done work in the phylogeny and taxonomy of insects. He has also made important contributions to the studies of living and fossil Zoraptera, Isoptera, Dermaptera, Raphidioptera, Neuroptera, and Hymenoptera, most notably bees.
  • Death of Lynn Margulis

    Death of Lynn Margulis
    Amherst, Massachusetts, U.S.