Timeline of evolutionary thought

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This is a timeline of evolutionary thought.

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Time period Development summary More details
1880s–1920s The eclipse of Darwinism takes place.

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Year Month and date Event type Details
1859 Publication Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species is published.[1]
mid-1880s Weismann develops his ideas about heredity and development around this time.[1]
1896 James Mark Baldwin's paper "A New Factor in Evolution" is published. The paper describes what would later be called the Baldwin effect.
1900 "now regarded as the birthdate of the discipline" of genetics.[1]:24
1930s The Modern Synthesis takes place.
1940s C. H. Waddington coins the concept and term "canalization".[2][3]
1953 Watson and Crick describe the structure of DNA.[1]:30
1958 Francis Crick describes the "central dogma" of molecular biology.[1]:31
late 1950s – 1960s Tracy Sonneborn and colleagues discover a form of structural inheritance in the cilia of Paramecium.[1]:119
1960s Helen Crouse's studies on the chromosomal behavior of Sciara are conducted during this period.[1]:137
1960s–1970s "some of the processes that enable the information in a sequence of DNA to be converted into the polypeptide chains of proteins were worked out".[1]:50
1970s Stanley B. Prusiner and colleagues begin their research on prions.
1972 Eldredge and Gould's paper on punctuated equilibrium is published.
1973 Leigh Van Valen proposes the Red Queen hypothesis.
mid-1970s Until this period, "the existence of epigenetic inheritance was barely recognized".[1]:111
1975 Robin Holiday and John Pugh in Britain as well as Arthur Riggs in the United States independently suggest a mechanism of transmitting gene activity or inactivity to future cell generations.[1]:111–112
1976 Publication Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene is published.[1]:37
1988 John Cairns and his colleagues publish a paper in Nature arguing that mutations are not entirely random.[1]:79–80
late 1990s RNA interference (RNAi) is discovered.[1]:130
2010 Massimo Pigliucci's book, Evolution: The Extended Synthesis, is published. The book relaunches the idea of an extended synthesis.
2011 Publication Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is published.[4]

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External links

Timeline of the evolution of life


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Jablonka, Eva; Lamb, Marion J. (2014). Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life (Revised Edition). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 
  2. Flatt T. "The evolutionary genetics of canalization.". PubMed - NCBI. Retrieved June 7, 2017. In the 1940s, Conrad Hal Waddington coined the concept and term "canalization" to describe the robustness of phenotypes to perturbation 
  3. Eshel, Ilan; Matessi, Carlo (August 1, 1998). "Canalization, Genetic Assimilation and Preadaptation: A Quantitative Genetic Model". Genetics. Retrieved June 7, 2017. The peculiar pattern of interaction between genetic and environmental variation that underlies the expression of crossveins, and of other traits that can be similarly subject to assimilation, was described by Waddington using the concept of genetic canalization (Waddington 1940). 
  4. "Obama recommends book by Israeli author Yuval N. Harari". ynetnews.com. Retrieved 3 December 2017.