Charles Darwin was not the only one who formulated theories on evolution but also the French botanist and zoologist Jean Baptiste Lamarck. In the year 1802, Lamarck’s thoughts on organic development move in place.
The theory of Evolution by Lamarck was based on the idea that individuals adapt during their own lifetime. Individuals transmit traits then pass it to their offsprings. The offspring adapt from where their parents left off and enabling the evolution to advance. As a mechanism for adaptation, Lamarck proposed that individuals increase specific capabilities by exercising them while if it’s not in use then it would lose through disuse.
In 1804 in his book Philosophie Zoologique, in which he described a two part mechanism by which change was gradually introduced into the species and passed them through generations. His theory is alternately referred to as theory of transformation or simply called Lamarckism.
The most famous classic example of the first mechanism is the concept of use and disuse is the elongated neck of the giraffe. The major downfall of this theory was the lack of explaination on how might this happen. Another example was the use of water birds of their toes. He proposed that from years of straining their toes to swim through the water. These birds gained elongated webbed toes to improve their swimming.
Lamarck believed that disuse would cause a trait to reduce if appendages or parts of ones individual are not in use. The wings of the penguin for instance would be smaller than those birds because penguins do not use them to fly. The second of Lamarck’s mechanism involved the inheritance of acquired traits. Traits changed or acquired over an individuals lifetime could be passes down to the offspring.
Giraffes that acquired long necks would have offsprings with long necks. This type of inheritance is called Lamarckian Inheritance. This was disproved when the hereditary genetics was discovered. The idea that evolutionary change takes place gradually and constantly as time goes by. Another example of acquired inheritance are those blacksmiths through their work, strengthens their muscles, then their sons will have muscle development when they mature because they inherited it to their fathers
Lamarck’s theories were rejected during his lifetime. It set the tone for much subsequent thinking in evolutionary biology. Darwin praised Lamarck for the eminent arousing of ones attention to the probability of all changes in the organic world.
Lamarckism is still used occasionally to describe quasi-evolutionary concepts in societal contexts. Lamarck’s theories may be rejected long time ago but these theories helped other scientists discover the mystery of evolutionary changes.