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Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, chevalier de

Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet Lamarck, chevalier de (zhäN bätēst´ pyĕr äNtwän´də mônā´, shəvälyā´ də lämärk´), 1744–1829, French naturalist. He is noted for his study and classification of invertebrates and for his introduction of evolutionary theories. After varied careers he turned his attention to botany, and recognition of his skill followed upon publication of Flore françoise (3 vol., 1778). He was elected to the Academy of Sciences, and, aided by Buffon, he traveled over Europe, under the title of royal botanist, visiting museums and collecting material for the museum of the academy. From 1793 he was professor of zoology at the Museum of Natural History. His ideas concerning the origin of species were first made public in his Système des animaux sans vertèbres (1801). He introduced the terms biology and Invertebrata and suggested the invertebrate classes Infusoria, Annelida, Crustacea, Arachnida, and Tunicata. He is also considered the founder of invertebrate paleontology. His later works were Philosophie zoologique (2 vol., 1809; tr. Zoological Philosophy, 1963) and Histoire naturelle des animaux sans vertèbres (7 vol. in 8, 1815–22). Blindness and poverty marred his later years.

Lamarck's theory of evolution, or Lamarckism, asserts that all life forms have arisen by a continuous process of gradual modification throughout geologic history. To explain this process he cited the then generally accepted theory of acquired characteristics, which held that new traits in an organism develop because of a need created by the environment and that they are transmitted to its offspring. Although the latter hypothesis was disputed during Lamarck's lifetime by Cuvier and others and was rejected altogether as the principles of heredity were established, Lamarck's theory of evolution was an important forerunner of the work of Charles Darwin, who recognized a modified influence of environment in evolutionary processes.

See studies by R. W. Burkhart (1977) and P. Corsi (tr. 1988).

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Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de

Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de (1744–1829) A French naturalist who, in 1809, proposed the first formal theory of evolution. He advanced the theory that evolutionary change may occur by the inheritance of characteristics acquired during the lifetime of the individual. For example, fossil evidence suggests that the ancestors of the giraffe had short necks: Lamarck proposed that competition for food encouraged them to stretch upward in order to browse among higher vegetation, causing their necks to lengthen, and that this lengthening was passed on to their descendants. Over millions of years the minute increases from each generation to the next culminated in the long-necked form. It is interesting to note that the theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics did not hold a central position in Lamarck's own writings. His cardinal point was that evolution is a directional, creative process in which life climbs a ladder from simple to complex organisms. He believed the inheritance of acquired characteristics provided a mechanism for this evolution. Lamarck explained that this progress of life up the ladder of complexity is complicated by organisms being diverted by the requirements of local environments; thus cacti have reduced leaves (and giraffes have long necks). Compare DARWIN, CHARLES ROBERT.

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Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de

Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de (1744–1829) A French naturalist who, in 1809, proposed the first formal theory of evolution. He advanced the theory that evolutionary change may occur by the inheritance of characteristics acquired during the lifetime of the individual. For example, fossil evidence suggests that the ancestors of the giraffe had short necks: Lamarck proposed that competition for food encouraged them to stretch upward in order to browse among higher vegetation, causing their necks to lengthen, and that this lengthening was passed on to their descendants. Over millions of years the minute increases from each generation to the next culminated in the long-necked form. It is interesting to note that the theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics did not hold a central position in Lamarck's own writings. His cardinal point was that evolution is a directional, creative process in which life climbs a ladder from simple to complex organisms. He believed the inheritance of acquired characteristics provided a mechanism for this evolution. Lamarck explained that this progress of life up the ladder of complexity is complicated by organisms being diverted by the requirements of local environments; thus cacti have reduced leaves (and giraffes have long necks). Compare DARWIN, CHARLES ROBERT.

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Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, chevalier de

Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, chevalier de (1744–1829) A French naturalist who, in 1809, advanced the theory that evolutionary change may occur by the inheritance of characteristics acquired during the lifetime of the individual. This theory was also the basis for Lysenko's arguments on the inheritance of acquired plant characteristics. It is interesting to note that the theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics did not hold a central position in Lamarck's own writings. His cardinal point was that evolution is a directional, creative process in which life climbs a ladder from simple to complex organisms. He believed the inheritance of acquired characteristics provided a mechanism for this evolution. Lamarck explained that this progress of life up the ladder of complexity is complicated by organisms being diverted by the requirements of local environments; thus, cacti have reduced leaves (and giraffes have long necks). Compare DARWIN, CHARLES ROBERT.

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Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de

Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de (1744–1829) French natural historian. In 1778 he published a flora of France, which included a dichotomous identification key, and later worked on the classification of invertebrates, published in a seven-volume natural history (1815–22). In 1809 he put forward a theory of evolution that has become known as Lamarckism (later rejected in favour of Darwinism).

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Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de

Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de (1744–1829) French biologist. His theories of evolution, according to which acquired characteristics are inherited by offspring, influenced evolutionary thought throughout the 19th century, until they were disproved by Darwin. One of his major works is Philosophie zoologique (1809).

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