Darwin vs Lamarck
The fascinating field of Evolutionary Biology has been extensively coloured by the two great scientists Darwin and Lamarck. They came up with theories to explain how the biological species have been evolving and those explanations really changed the classical way of thinking at that time. In fact, their inventions could be referred as blockbusters according to some well-honoured present-day scientists. That is because the existed conventional beliefs at that time got theoretically blasted after these scientists presented their theories to the world. This article intends to present the difference between Darwin and Lamarck, with special attention to the evolutionarily important findings.
Being a Fellow of the Royal Society, the English naturalist Charles Robert Darwin (1809 – 1882) is considered the Father of the Evolutionary Biology. He came up with the idea that the evolution of the biological species takes place according to the natural selection as the fittest one survives over others. Darwin presented some convincing evidence for his theory of evolution through the famous book of “On the Origin of Species” in 1959, and that had a lot of assistance from the scientist named Alfred Russel Wallace. Despite the debate about his theory of evolution in the 1870s, people respected and accepted it with the modern evolutionary approaches by scientists in 1930s – 1950s. The diversity of life could be well explained from his theory of evolution. The demand for the existence of variation among species by the nature could be well explained through his theory. According to Ecology, there are available niches in ecosystems that species (animals, plants, and all other species) have to adapt in order to survive. Therefore, the best-adapted species will survive through the challenges or demands by the nature. As Darwin explains his theory, the survival of the fittest takes place through natural selection. Apart from forming up this indisputable theory, Darwin authored many other popular publications at his time in the fields of Geology and Botany. As anyone would go through Darwin’s biography, it becomes evident that his father fancied making Darwin a doctor, but everyone else would have blessed him that he became an evolutionary biologist.
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744 – 1829) was first a soldier then a brilliant biologist. He was born in France, became a soldier, honoured for his bravery, studied medicine, and involved with many biologically important publications during his time. Lamarck mastered his knowledge in both plants and animals, especially in the taxonomy of invertebrates. However, according to the present-day understanding about this great scientist, it is his theory of evolution that has struck hard into the minds of people over all other work he has done. As Lamarck explains how the evolution of species takes place, the use or disuse of characteristics matters for new characteristics; that is, when a particular feature of an organism is being used extensively, the next generation would favour to increase the efficiency of that particular feature in order to adapt to the environment better. The characteristics that were acquired in one particular generation would pass or inherit to the next generation according to Lamarck. Therefore, it is known as the inheritance of acquired characteristics, and this theory of evolution was well accepted and honoured by the scientific world until Charles Darwin introduced the natural selection theory in the 19th century. Lamarck’s theory was the only sensible explanation for evolution during his time, and it is known as the Lamarckism.
What is the difference between Darwin and Lamarck?
• Darwin was an English scientist while Lamarck was a French biologist.
• Darwin proposed that evolution takes place by means of natural selection as the fittest one survives. However, Lamarck proposed that evolution takes place through inheritance of acquired characteristics.
• Darwinism is more accepted than Lamarckism by the present-day scientific community.
• Lamarck was a more versatile scientist than Darwin.