May 11, 1800

On May 11, 1800, French naturalist, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, gave a lecture at the France Museum of Natural History, of which he was a Professor of Zoology. The lecture was his first outlining of his theories of evolution. In it he stressed two main themes; the first was that the environment gave rise to changes in animals, such as blindness in moles and fish and insects that evolved in caves, and secondly, that life was structured in an orderly manner. He did include a little bit of the theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, such as giraffe babies’ necks getting longer because their mother giraffe stretched her neck to get food. This even became known as Lamarckism, even though it was a belief held by many naturalists of the time. Lamarck really hated that people and animals thought that the inheritance of acquired characteristics was his theory (he refused to call it Lamarckism) as every time he’d visit the zoo, all the animals would bully and tease him. The giraffes were the absolute worse as they’d stretch their necks to get some food and shout “Oh non, mon prochain cou de bébé sera si long.”

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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