The Modern Scientific Theory of Evolution
The modern theory of evolution began to develop in the 18th century through the work of Linnaeus (1707-78), Buffon (1707-88), Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), Lamarck (1744-1829), and in the 19th century in the works of Charles Darwin (1809-82) and his followers. 'On the Origin of Species’ written by Charles Darwin (1859) gave details and demonstrations of his scientific theory of evolution, according to which, life on the earth evolved by a gradual and yet continuous process from the earliest forms of living organisms to the latest product, man. Natural selection, variation and heredity are said to be the factors through the operations of which new species arise out of existing ones. When new characters are produced by the variability of organisms, natural selection decides their survival or death. If the characters do not adapt to their environment, they are eliminated in the competition. If, on the other hand, they equip themselves better for the struggle, they tend to survive. The offsprings of the successful tend to resemble the parents in exhibiting the favoured variation to a greater degree than the parents, and a new type becomes established by a continuous piling up of small useful accretions through many generations.