Lamarck, Jean Baptiste

R. W. Burkhardt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


The French zoologist Jean Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829) was the most prominent evolutionary theorist before Darwin. He was the first biologist to elaborate a comprehensive theory involving the progressive development of all the different forms of life on the Earth, beginning with the simplest and proceeding gradually, over time, to the most complex. Although his name is closely associated with the idea of the inheritance of acquired characters (and while he did make this idea an integral part of his evolutionary theorizing), he neither originated the idea nor took particular credit for it. It was not until late in the nineteenth century that the inheritance of acquired characters came to be represented as a distinctively Lamarckian concept.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBrenner's Encyclopedia of Genetics
EditorsStanley Maloy, Kelly Hughes
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9780080961569
ISBN (Print)9780123749840
StatePublished - Feb 27 2013


  • Acquired characters
  • Darwin, Charles
  • Evolution
  • Invertebrate zoology
  • Lamarck, Jean Baptiste
  • Museum of Natural History, Paris
  • Weismann, August

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine


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