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Eternal EphemeraAdaptation and the Origin of Species from the Nineteenth Century Through Punctuated Equilibria and Beyond$
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Niles Eldredge

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153164

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153164.001.0001

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The Advent of the Modern Fauna

The Advent of the Modern Fauna

On the Births and Deaths of Species, 1801–1831

(p.21) 1 The Advent of the Modern Fauna
Eternal Ephemera

Niles Eldredge

Columbia University Press

This chapter talks about the earliest decades of the scientific study of “transmutation,” previously called evolution, in which early evolutionists focused on the search for a natural causal explanation for the origin of species alive today. The two contrasting positions that have dominated evolutionary thought came from two naturalists who based their theories on empirical data drawn from a comparison of fossil mollusks—Jean Baptiste Lamarck and Giambattista Brocchi. The chapter examines the ideas of both Lamarck and Brocchi, most of which were published in the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, which was founded by Robert Jameson. Jameson was Charles Darwin's teacher at the University of Edinburgh. Darwin's exposure to scientific analysis, natural history, and transmutational thinking continued at Cambridge where he read John Herschel's Preliminary Discourse on Natural Philosophy, a book that influenced him to pursue a scientific career.

Keywords:   transmutation, origin of species, Jean Baptiste Lamarck, Giambattista Brocchi, Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, Robert Jameson, Charles Darwin, John Herschel

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