Timeline of Evolution

  • An Essay On the Principle of Population

    An Essay On the Principle of Population
    Thomas Robert Malthus publishes the first edition of "An Essay on the Principle of Population." He theorized that continued population growth would outgrow current resources.
  • Theory

    Darwin begins a five-year voyage to Galapagos Islands. Led Darwin to form his theory on the origin and development of life.
  • Period: to

    Evolution timespan

  • Population Splitting Off

    Darwin sees that populations of animals, like industry, expand and specialize to fit into niches with competition acting as the driving force. He saw nature as the ultimate "factory."
  • The Origin of Species book

    The Origin of Species book
    On the Origin of Species established evolution by common descent as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. His research on plants was published in a series of books, and in his final book, he examined earthworms and their effect on soil.
  • X-Club

    The "X Club" was founded. During this time the church was moving quickly to shore up their defenses of biblical creation and the fixation of species. Radical naturalists, and those already in the transmutation camp, joined forces to counter the church move. They met at the St. George Hotel in London and formed a dining club they called the "X-club." Their purpose was to meet and discuss pure science without the intrusion of the church or any religious views.
  • Gregor Mendel

    Gregor Mendel
    Gregor Mendel's works with pea plants published, setting the background for the basis of natural selection.
  • Descent of Man

    Descent of Man
    Darwin spent his time writing his book on sexual selection in which he discussed man's ancient origins for the first time. By now the book had grown into a huge volume of nearly one-thousand pages and he feared the section on man's origins would become lost in the immensity of the text. Therefore, he decided to have the book published in two parts - "Descent of Man" and "Selection in Relation to Sex."
  • August Weismann

    August Weismann
    August Weismann publishes findings detailing how important DNA is to heredity, along with germ cell theory - the theory that inheritance only takes place by means of germ cells such as egg and sperm, and that other cells do not pass on their genes.
  • John Scopes

    John Scopes
    In State of Tennessee v. Scopes, public school teacher John Scopes is convicted of teaching evolution in violation of Tennessee’s ban on the practice; Scopes’ conviction is later overturned on the basis of a legal technicality.
  • DNA

    DNA is proven to be the genetic material by which inheritance passes from one generation to the next, and thus is the blueprint for evolution.
  • James F. Crow Molecular Advance

    James F. Crow Molecular Advance
    James F. Crow offered two different explanations (later dubbed the classical and balance positions): the effect of deleterious mutations on the average fitness of a population depends only on the rate of mutations, while less-harmful mutations remain in the population longer.
  • Alan Boyden Molecular Advance

    Alan Boyden—building on immunological methods of G. H. F. Nuttall—developed new techniques.
  • Creation Science book

    Engineer Henry Morris and theologian John Whitcomb publish The Genesis Flood, which argues that there is scientific evidence to support a literal reading of the biblical creation story.
  • Jack L. Hubby Molecular Advance

    Jack L. Hubby published an electrophoresis study of protein variation in Drosophila
  • Motoo Kimura Molecular Advance

    Motoo Kimura introduced the neutral theory of molecular evolution
  • Tomoka Ohta Molecular Advance

    Tomoka Ohta published a short letter in Nature suggesting that a wide variety of molecular evidence supported the theory that most mutation events at the molecular level are slightly deleterious rather than strictly neutral
  • Science Education in schools

    The National Center for Science Education is founded to advocate the teaching of evolution in public schools.