Jean Lamarck, French naturalist

Jean Lamarck, French naturalist

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Jean Lamarck (1744-1829), French naturalist. Lamarck proposed early ideas on evolution and the variation of species in his book Zoological Philosophy (1809). His theory of evolution was based on the idea that acquired characteristics are inherited. He proposed that in nature it is the environment that produces change. The length of the giraffe's neck, for example, he attributed to years of reaching up for food. A facet of his views was that such a change could be inherited, and this attracted ridicule. His ideas were largely abandoned after the work of Darwin and Mendel.

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