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A berief guide to the history of evolutionary thought|bustos aristotle|Carolus Linnaeus|darwin

Terpene Deficiency / Paleo Air

History of Evolutionary Thought

evolutionary thought

330 BCE: Species assumed to be unchanging

For most of human history, species were assumed to be unchanging, meaning they were fixed in the same form throughout the history of the species. 1

In fact, the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, created the concept of species being arranged in a ladder of increasing complexity known as the “great chain of being” or scala naturae.

 Carolus Linnaeus

1735: Carolus Linnaeus creates two-part naming system for species

In his book, Systema Naturae , Linnaeus started using a two-part naming system, which eventually became the “Linnaean” or “binomial” system used worldwide to classify living things.

Over the years, Linnaeus added to this initial classification, which became 2,400 pages in its final edition and was the first serious attempt at classifying all of the species on the planet. He classified these living things by looking at their similarities.

Most importantly, Linnaeus was the first individual to place humans in the primate family because of the similarities the species shared. 2

1801: Lamarck proposes the first coherent theory of evolution

Lamarck is known for his book, Theory of Inheritance and Acquired Characteristics, in which he lays out the two main laws that he believed explain evolution.

The first law states that use and disuse of features leads to acquired traits, while the second law elaborates that these acquired traits can be inherited. For example, if throughout its lifespan, a giraffe stretched its neck to reach the highest leaves on the tree, its offspring would be born with a long neck.

Though Lamarck’s was the first coherent theory of evolution, his laws are unsupported by evidence and his theory ultimately rejected. 3


1859: Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection

The Darwinian Revolution challenged the traditional views of a young earth filled with unchanging species and focused the attention of biologists on the diversity of living species. Darwin collected extensive evidence in support of his hypothesis. 4

Fossil Record

Studying the fossil record—remains or traces of past organisms found in sedimentary rock—created the basis for Darwin’s ideas about evolution. The fossil record is critical in that it provides evidence for the extinction of species, the origin of new species, and changes within species over time.


Homology is similarity in body parts due to common ancestry, meaning homologous structures are variations of the same structure present in different descendents of the same ancestor.


Biogeography is the scientific study of the geographic distribution of species. In the past, all of Earth’s continents were united in a single unit—Pangea—but have since separated as a result of continental drift. An understanding of the movement of continents and the resulting distribution of species allowed for prediction of how different groups evolved.

During his voyage on the Beagle in South America, Darwin hypothesized that species of finches from South America had colonized the Galapagos Islands and diverged into different species on the islands to adapt to the different environments.

Ultimately, after the publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, there existed a coherent, evidence-backed explanation for the unity and diversity of life on Earth. 5

Final Thoughts

These thoughts and concepts relate to our fascination with breathing the same air as our ancestors, referred to as Paleo Air, which can be done with terpene-rich essential oils in personal aromatherapy diffusers.

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