Happy birthday to the first evolutionary biologist

by Joe Felsenstein


Not only was he one of the most interesting evolutionary biologists, he was really the first major biologist to not only say that evolution happened, but to provide a mechanism to explain adaptation (albeit a wrong mechanism). He was born on August 1, 1744 in Bazentin-le-Petit, France. So if he had lived, he would be 267 years old today. He coined the term “invertebrate” (because he did brilliant work on them), and, for that matter, he coined the term “biology”! He did not invent “Lamarckian inheritance”, he just used it in his evolutionary mechanism – everyone back then already believed in it.

So happy birthday, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck! here and here are my previous birthday postings for him, with interesting discussion over such issues as whether his evolutionary tree can really be regarded as an historical genealogy.