Timeline Description: Evolution, which is the change of characteristics of different populations over time, is the theory used to explain the massive diversity experienced on Earth. These changes occur with small mutations in genes, which are then passed onto offspring. Through natural selection, if the mutation gives some advantage, that individual survives to reproduce, and thus secures that change in the genetics of the population.
|1735||A new naming system
Carolus Linnaeus, a Swedish scientist, published Systema Naturae, which includes the common modern naming system of binomial nomenclature, or the naming of species with two names (i.e. Homo sapiens, for humans).
|1767||Birth of paleontology
Georges Cuvier, a highly respected French scientist, was born, He is known as the father of Paleontology. Also well known for his denial of any sort of evolutionary theory, by his study of the fossil record.
|1795||Geologic time and gradualism
James Hutton, a Scottish scientist and physician, published a set of theories explaining the geology of the Earth, among them the concept of geologic (or "deep") time, and that the Earth gradually changes over time.
Thomas Robert Malthus publishes the first edition of "An Essay on the Principle of Population." After much refinement, the 6th edition of this book was cited by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in development of the theory of natural selection. He theorized that continued population growth would outgrow current resources.
|1809||First theory of evolution published
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a French naturalist, published his theory of evolution. His theory was that evolution occurred through the inheritance of acquired characteristics, or the use/disuse theory.
|1830||New thoughts on geology
Charles Lyell publishes "Principles of Geology." This pushed a uniformitarian view of geology, or the theory that forces in the past are the same as forces in the present, and that we can use the forces present today to infer things about the past.
|1831||A new world
Charles Darwin, then very young and still a student, joins the voyage of the HMS Beagle as a naturalist.
|1844||The First Essay
Charles Darwin, working for many years, writes an essay on the theory of evolution. This was never published.
|1858||Competition for Evolution
Alfred Russel Wallace publishes a paper coming to some of the same conclusions as Darwin, including natural selection. Darwin's friends present both Wallace's and Darwin's theories at the Linnean Society.
|1859||The Origin of Species
Darwin, suffering from sickness both in himself and his family , finishes his book "The Origin of Species" and publishes it. It becomes wildly popular.
Mendel's works with pea plants published, setting the background for the basis of natural selection.
|1892||Importance of DNA in heredity
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.
|1903||Chromosomes and heredity
Walter Sutton proposed that chromosomes were the basis for Mendelian inheritance of characteristics.
|1943||Genetic material verified
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.