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Evolutionary Ideas: Pre-Darwinian

  1. Peter J Bowler

Published Online: 19 APR 2001

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0001691



How to Cite

Bowler, P. J. 2001. Evolutionary Ideas: Pre-Darwinian. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 APR 2001


The modern theory of evolution emerged in the mid-nineteenth century, but ideas about the natural origin of species were discussed from the ancient Greeks onwards and were actively debated (although not widely accepted) by the time Darwin began his researches.


  • chain of being;
  • creation;
  • evolution;
  • Lamarckism;
  • spontaneous generation