Terms and Concepts for Unit 1: Introduction to Evolution
Evolution – theory and fact
Key People in the Development of Evolutionary Biology
Charles Darwin – developed the two theories of common descent and natural selection
between 1836 and his death in 1882.
“Origin of Species” – the famous book in which Darwin presents his case for
evolution by natural selection in 1859.
Alfred Russell Wallace – also developed the idea of natural selection in 1858
Richard Owen – leading paleontologist in Britain in the mid-1800s. He created the word “dinosaur”. He created the Natural History Museum in London, now one of the best museums in the world. He disagreed with Darwin’s theory.
James Hutton – “Father of Geology”, a Scottish physician who studied geology in the late 1700s (around 1780) and first described how the earth must be millions of years old based on the time needed for rock layers to be deposited, hardened and twisted over time.
Gregor Mendel – experimented with peas (also mice) in the 1850s and 1860s. He first
described that inherited traits were “factors” that were dominant or recessive that were
passed on to offspring.
Thomas Hunt Morgan – developed the field of genetics between 1905 and 1915 by
working with Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies). Showed that traits were linked to
chromosomes, including sex-linked traits. Also the importance of mutations being
passed on to successive generations.
James Watson and Francis Crick – Solved the puzzle of the structure of DNA in 1953. This showed that this large molecule carried “genes” in base pair sequences that were passed on to offspring. This began the whole new field of molecular genetics.
Ernst Mayr – evolutionary biologist who was part of the “modern synthesis” in the 1940s.
He and several other biologists merged the fields of genetics with Darwinian Evolution.
He wrote numerous books on evolutionary theory throughout the 20th century.
Natural Selection –...