Anaximander (610 – 546 BC; Greek) and Empedocles (490–430 BC; Greek): proposed that one type of animal could descend from another type of animal.
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.), Greek: proposed that living things are imperfect actualizations of different fixed natural possibilities - "species", from Latin.
John Ray (1628-1705), English: believed that species were designed by God, but showed differences caused by local conditions.
Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (1698 – 1759), French: wrote about natural modifications occurring during reproduction and accumulating over many generations to produce new species.
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788), French: suggested that species could degenerate into different organisms.
Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778), Swedish: classified humans among the primates.
Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), English: proposed that all warm-blooded animals could have descended from a single micro-organism.
William Paley (1743-1805), British: proposed that complex adaptations are evidence of divine design.
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829), French: believed that living lineages are adapted to the environment by inheriting changes caused by use or disuse in parents.
Thomas Malthus (1766-1834), English: continued human population growth would lend itself to poverty by means of a struggle for existence.
Georges Cuvier (1769-1832), French: insisted that species were unrelated and fixed, their similarities reflecting divine design for functional needs.
Étienne Geoffroy St. Hilaire (1772-1844), French: believed in the underlying unity of organismal design, and the possibility of the transmutation of species over time.
Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873), British: was an outspoken opponent of Darwin's theory of evolution by means of natural selection.
Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892), English: He agreed with Darwin that evolution occurred, but thought it was more complex than outlined in Darwin's On the Origin of Species.
Louis Agassiz (1807-1873), Swiss: Opposed Charles Darwin's theories on evolution.
Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882), English: the theory of evolution by natural selection - On the Origin of Species.
Gregor Johann Mendel (1822 – 1884), Austrian: reported that traits were inherited in a predictable manner of elements (later known as genes).
Thomas Henry Huxley (1824-1895), English: applied Darwin's ideas to humans, using paleontology and comparative anatomy to provide strong evidence that humans and apes shared a common ancestry.
Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913), British: independently proposing a theory of evolution due to natural selection that prompted Charles Darwin to publish his own theory.
August Weismann (1834 – 1914), German: the germ plasm theory, according to which inheritance only takes place by means of the germ cells—the gametes such as egg cells and sperm cells. Other cells of the body—somatic cells—do not function as agents of heredity.
Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), German: claimed that an individual organism's biological development parallels and summarizes its species' evolutionary development (controversial recapitulation theory).
Alfred Wegener (1880-1930), German: discovered continental drift - an important factor that was instrumental in creating the diversity of plants and animals.
J.B.S. Haldane (1892 – 1964; British), Sewall Wright (1889 – 1988; American) and Ronald Fisher (1890 – 1962; English): founded population genetics - the study of allele frequency distribution and change under the influence of the four main evolutionary processes: natural selection, genetic drift, mutation and gene flow.
Theodosius Dobzhansky (1900 - 1975), Ukrainian-American: synthesis of evolutionary biology with genetics - instrumental in spreading the idea that it is through mutations in genes that natural selection takes place.
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