Thursday, June 14, 2012


Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was very influential in darwin's theory of natural selection. Lamarck studied the invertebrates and was the first of his time to really study this. His studied allowed him to see that there was an inheritance of acquired traits, the idea of heredity. Though Lamarck, had these great ideas, he never was credited until after his death. Lamarck helped add to Darwin's theory, through the idea that traits could only evolve if they were heretiable. Lamarck saw that insects and worms had traits that could pass onto further generations, but Darwin took that idea and expanded on it making it creditable. Lamarck had a very positive effect on Darwin's theory, helping him build on Lamarck's idea, if it was not for Lamarck I dont think Darwin could fully ever discover his theory correct. This is because Lamarck got people to start looking at the changes of organic and inorganic, if it wasn't for him, Darwin would have never even looked at the possibilities of there being any change. The attitude of the church on Darwin's finding was very shunned, the church found anything out of line of religious and biblical writings against them. So when Darwin published his book, On the origin of species, people were reluctant to actually pursue his ideas or further look into it. People were scared to agree with it because they did not want the church to punish them.


  1. I also feel that Lamarck may have had the biggest influence on Darwin. I would have to disagree that Lamarck believed traits could only evolve if they were heritable. As I understood from our readings, Lamarck believed that by way of "nervous juices" and individual could evolve and pass on those traits. If you look at the most common example of his idea on the length of the neck of the giraffe you will see this. I think you may be confusing Lamarck with Malthus. While Malthus didn't say that traits must be heritable he did say that those who had the traits that would help them survive would be passed on to more generations since there were more creatures with that trait left to multiply. In this way evolution would occur over time.

  2. Great insight on how Lamarck was influential to Darwin’s theory. It is a shame that he did not get much credit that he was suppose to when he had passed away. Although I have agreed that Malthus had influence Darwin, I completely agree that Lamarck had given Darwin a better insight into his theories.

  3. In general, good coverage of Lamarck's work and it's influence on Darwin.

    I have to differ with you one whether or not Darwin would have developed his theory without Lamarck, however. Many people were exploring the idea of change and evolution in species, including Darwin's own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin (though perhaps it was a casual study). Lamarck acted mostly as a negative foil for Darwin, i.e., he could see where Lamarck went wrong and figure out what would work.

    The church had an impact on Darwin long before he ever published. Why did Darwin wait more than 20 years to publish his work?