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Lamarck vs. Darwin Theory of Evolution

UserMark time18 May,2019

Lamarck and Darwin both wanted to find out the evolution of human beings on earth with their theories. They had theories based on different ideas. However, they both had one notion in common that life has changed over the years and it is still evolving. They also believed that organisms have changed over the years to adapt to the changing environment to ensure survival. However, they had different notions about the evolution of life on this planet. This is why both of them came up with individual theories.

Lamarck Vs. Darwin Theory Of Evolution

This blog aims to understand everything about both Lamarck and Darwin’s theory of evolution. Keep reading to understand the nitty-gritty of both theories. Know how Lamarck vs. Darwin’s theory has helped scientists to come up with more interpretations about the evolution of various organisms on this planet. 

Difference between adaptation and evolution: What is it all about?

Both scientists have talked about adaption and evolution in their theories. However, before we know everything about their theories, we should have a clear idea about the difference between adaption and evolution.

Adaption Evolution
Definition:  The scientific definition says that adaption is the act of adjustment. The living beings are expected to understand and accept specific changes to fit into the situation and survive in the long run.  Definition: Evolution is regarded as the process by which different living organisms are believed to have developed over time from their earlier forms.
Degree of the change: Adaption is a small-term process. The environment is likely to witness changes within a minimal span. Adaption is all about getting used to the changes within a short period.  Degree of change: Evolution is a long-term change. The developments of the organisms are witnessed slowly with the gradual passage of time.
Causes: The process of adaption began with the effect of environmental conditions. The living organisms need to adapt to the changes in the environment to survive. Causes: Evolution occurs to speciation. The formation of new species in the course of the process is inevitable.
Reversibility: In case of adaption, the changes can be undone. A final substance can be converted again to the original form. Reversibility: In the process of evolution, no change is reversible. It occurs over generations. When a change is evident and already happened, there is no way to change it.
Final Outcome: Adaption results in phenotypic variation. Final Outcome: Evolution results in new species.

To put it in a nutshell, adaption and evolution are two processes of survival on the planet. Adaption is the development of beneficial characteristics to fit the habitat. On the other hand, evolution is the long-term process of changing the characters of different organisms that occur in the genetic level. Now, let us know how did Lamarck contribute to the theory of evolution and how it is different from Darwin’s theory.

Figure 1: Difference between adaption and evolution

Lamarck vs. Darwin: what did they believe regarding evolution and adaption

Both scientists tried to understand the evolution of life, based on their perceptions. Although they had certain similarities in their beliefs, the differences between the two theories are also evident. Let us know what both the scientists believed. 

Lamarck’s theory of evolution or Lamarckian evolution:

Lamarck came up with his theory of Inheritance of Acquired characteristics in 1801. He explained that if an organism changes to adapt to its environment, those changes are passed on to its offspring. According to Lamarck, change is made by the organism to fulfil their needs to survive in the changing environment. 

Lamarck’s inheritance defined that an organism can pass on characteristics of specific organs to the offspring that it has used or disused in its lifetime. For instance, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck believed that Giraffes stretched their necks to get access to foods from tall trees and plants. Therefore, as a result, their offspring and later generation were born with long necks. 

Lamarckian evolution or Lamarck’s evolutionary framework proposed a systematic theoretical framework to understand the process vividly. 

  1. "Life by its own force tends to increase the volume of all organs which possess the force of life. The force of life extends the dimensions of those parts up to the extent that those parts bring to themselves"

According to the first law of Lamarck’s theory, life, by its force, has increased the volume of various organs that served the organisms to live on the planet. Lamarck's theory explained that elephants had small trunks and eventually they extended their trunks to get food and fulfil their needs. That proves that organisms help themselves to survive on this planet.

  • "The production of a new organ in an animal body results from a new requirement and it continues to make itself felt. A new movement which that requirement gives birth to, and its upkeep/maintenance;"

Lamarck also explained that whenever a new organ is produced in an animal body, it should have particular usage. The organ should serve the animal in some way or the other.The organisms are likely to born with that organ from the next generation onwards.

  • "The development of the organs and their ability are constantly a result of the use of those organs."

The theory has also described the need for the organs in his third law within the evolutionary framework. According to Lamarck’s perception, when an organ develops in an animal’s body, it happens with the constant use of that organ. In due course of time, the organ also increases its ability to serve the animals better.

  • "All that has been acquired, traced, or changed, in the physiology of individuals during their life is conserved through the genesis, reproduction, and transmitted to new individuals who are related to those who have undergone those changes."

In the fourth law of the framework, Lamarck explained the concept of inheritance. According to him, the physiological changes of an animal are conserved through the genesis and transmitted to the next generation.

Darwin theory of evolution:

Charles Darwin came up with his theory of evolution with a set of new thoughts and analysis. According to Darwin’s theory of evolution, each individual is slightly different from others. The theory of Darwin is also known as natural selection. He explained that the variations in animals led to some being more likely to survive and reproduce than others. He also added that physiological features that make an organism survive are more likely to appear with each generation.

Charles Darwin brought something more credible than the old philosophy. According to the main principle of the natural selection theory, it is the conservation of a functional advantage that allows species to compete better in an undomesticated environment. He introduced the much-known theory of ‘survival of the fittest’. Darwin explained that organisms that could adapt to the changes are likely to survive. The inferior or the deprived members of the same species will eventually go extinct as they fail to cope up with the environmental changes.

These are the five main points of Darwin’s theory

The five points of his theory explained the competition that increased with an increase in the variety of organisms.

Different theories of evolution

Apart from Lamarckism and Darwinism, the other two theories of evolution played a significant role in understanding the process of evolution.

1. Mutation Theory of Evolution:

The theory was proposed by a Dutch Botanist named Hugo De Vries. He experimented with plants to understand the theory of inheritance in reality. He allowed some of the plants to self-pollinate and observed the next generation.

Through this experiment, he observed that the majority of plants of the first generation were found to be of the parental type. However, with the fourth or fifth generation, there were differences in flower size, shape, the arrangement of buds, etc.

2.  Synthetic Theory of Evolution:

The synthetic theory is also known as Neo-Darwinism, designated by a scientist named Huxley. It emphasises the importance of populations as the units of evolution and the central role of natural selection as the most important mechanism of evolution. Some of the essential factors of this theory are:

  • Gene mutation
  • Numerical Chromosomal Mutation
  • Deficiency of Gene block
  • Translocation of genes

Read the blog to know that deciphering evolution theories are not hard nuts to crack. These theories have helped other scientists to come up with more experiments and observation.

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