Aims of this podcast episode:

  • Describe Lamark’s theory of evolution;
  • Describe Darwin’s theory of evolution;
  • Identify similarities and differences between the two theories.

A couple of hundred years ago there were two competing theories as to how humans came about – how we evolved. Originally Jean-Baptiste Lamark – a french scientist – had a theory that was widely accepted. Not long after Lamark, Charles Darwin developed a different theory, slightly more correct. Aspects of both theories are still accepted today, but because of technology new evidence causes them to be edited constantly.

Jean-Baptiste Lamark:

Lamark’s theory stated that an organism could change its appearance over its life and these changes would be passed on to its offspring. This is kind of like getting a tattoo and your baby being born with the same tattoo. These characteristics are called acquired characteristics.

We know today that this is untrue, partly because of the evidence gathered by Darwin from fossil records. However, Lamark was correct in stating that there was a sequence of evolution – we didn’t just appear.

Charles Darwin:

Darwin stated that of an entire population of an organism, all will be slightly different. These differences are caused by mutations in the DNA. Most of these mutations won’t make any difference, but some will give the organism an advantage over other organisms (a slightly longer neck for example). This means it is more likely to survive and pass on that mutation to its offspring. At this point it becomes a selective characteristic.

Boom! It’s that simple.

S@S 002: Theories of Evolution
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