What are the theories of evolution?

The Theory of Evolution describes the development of the species that inhabited or inhabit the planet Earth.

Thus, the current species descended from other species that underwent modifications over time and transmitted new characteristics to their descendants.

Charles Darwin, author of ” Origin of Species” (1859) is one of the great names on theories related to evolutionism. His theory is based on the natural selection of species and is still accepted today.

What are the theories of evolution?

When we refer to the evolution of species, the theories created are based on two aspects:

  • Creationism: Divine forces are responsible for the emergence of the planet and all existing species. In that case, there has been no evolutionary process and the species is unchanging. This theory relates to religious issues.
  • Evolutionary: Proposes the evolution of species through natural selection as environmental changes occur.


The Theory of Creation or ” Creationism ” points to the origin of the Universe and life through mythical-religious explanations, which would not be subject to the evolutions or transformations that occurred in the evolution of the species, but to a Creator.

Creationism stands out as opposed to evolutionary science, being discussed by different civilizations and generating different hypotheses about the creation of the world, with each religion approaching it in different ways.

See also : Evolutionism .


The French naturalist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck (1744-1829) was very important for the development of evolutionist ideas, having published the book “Zoological Philosophy” with his conclusions in 1809. The set of his theories is called “Lamarckism  .

He proposed the “Law of use and disuse”, which consisted in the development or atrophy of body parts, according to their use or disuse, respectively. With that, such characteristics would be passed over time to the following generations, which he explained in the “Law of transmission of acquired characters”.


The theory of evolution of species has as its main articulator the British naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and the set of his evolutionary theories is named ” Darwinism “.

Darwin stated that living beings, including man, descend from common ancestors, which change over time. Thus, existing species evolved from simpler species that lived in the past.

Natural selection was the principle used by Darwin to defend his theory. Thus, only species adapted to environmental pressures are able to survive, reproduce and generate offspring.

For Lamarck, evolution took place through the use and disuse of body parts. Meanwhile, Darwin believed that the environment played a role in the selection of advantageous traits.

From his observations and research, Darwin’s main ideas were:

  • Individuals of the same species present differences among themselves, the result of variations between their characteristics;
  • Individuals with characteristics that are advantageous to the environmental conditions are more likely to survive than those who do not have such characteristics;
  • Individuals with advantageous characteristics are also more likely to leave offspring.

When we talk about Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, we cannot fail to mention another character, the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913). He developed a Darwin-like theory of the evolution of species.

Wallace sent Darwin his manuscripts and in 1858 the theory of evolution was published in the names of the two naturalists. However, because Charles Darwin is more recognized, he ended up receiving the merit and prestige of creator of the theory.

Read too:

  • Evolution
  • Human evolution


Neo -Darwinism or the Synthetic Theory of Evolution emerged in the 20th century and is characterized by the union of Darwin’s studies, mainly natural selection, with discoveries in the field of genetics.

This is because at the time of the first evolutionary studies, it was not yet known how the mechanism of heredity and mutation worked , which were only unveiled some time later from the studies of Gregor Mendel.

The current influence of studies on evolution can be seen in all areas of biology, especially cytology, which studies cells, and systematics, responsible for biological classification.

Neo-Darwinism is the theory accepted by science to explain the evolution of species.


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