On the Origin of Species | Study Guide

Charles Darwin

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On the Origin of Species | Key Figures

Key Figure Description
Charles Darwin Darwin was a 19th-century English geologist and naturalist. He is most famous for his theory of natural selection as described in On the Origin of Species. Read More
Alfred Russel Wallace Alfred Russel Wallace was a British biologist and naturalist. Read More
Charles Lyell Charles Lyell was a Scottish geologist. Read More
Thomas Huxley Thomas Huxley was an English biologist. Read More
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was a French biologist. Read More
Heinrich Georg Bronn Bronn was a prominent geologist and paleontologist who supported Darwin's theory of natural selection. He translated Darwin's work into German after its initial publication in English.
Édouard Claparède Claparède was an educator and psychologist, and an early proponent of Darwin's theory of natural selection.
Edward Forbes Forbes was a naturalist and one of the first pioneers in the field of biogeography—the study of the distribution of species in space and over time.
Johann Goethe Goethe was a writer and philosopher who was also one of the first comparative anatomists. His work helped strengthen Darwin's later arguments for the theory of natural selection.
Ernst Haeckel A proponent of Darwinism, Haeckel was a zoologist and evolutionist. He was correctly convinced the embryonic stage of an animal revealed phylogenetic information.
Carl Linnaeus Linnaeus was a naturalist who developed a way to systematically categorize organisms based on genera and species names in Systema Naturae (1735). This binomial nomenclature classification system is still in use today.
Thomas Robert Malthus Malthus was an economist who posited that human population growth would outpace the available food supply. Darwin applied Malthus's theory to that of natural selection in order to explain natural population controls.
St. George Jackson Mivart Mivart was a biologist and a critic of Darwin's theory of natural selection. He supported the idea of evolution but argued the appearance of new species was due to other forces.
Fritz Müller Müller was a naturalist who strongly supported Darwin's theory of natural selection. He is also known for the concept of "Müllerian mimicry," or the idea that a nonpoisonous creature will occasionally mimic the pattern of a poisonous creature.
Karl Wilhelm von Nägeli Von Nägeli was a botanist who did not entirely endorse the theory of natural selection but believed evolution occurred in periodic jumps.
Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire Saint-Hilaire was a naturalist who argued for a common ancestor between species by comparing anatomical structures. His work supported Darwin's theory of natural selection by arguing for the evolution of ancestral species through the creation of monstrosities.
Herbert Spencer Spencer was a sociologist who coined the term "survival of the fittest" and was the initial proponent of social Darwinism.
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