Researcher found unique evolutionary evidence from the works of a French scientists done around 50 years before Darwin’s Origin of Species.
A researcher at the University of Queensland discovered how a French scientist and ibis researcher conducted the first test of evolution over 50 years before Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species. Dr. Caitlin Curtis, researcher at University of Queensland Centre for Policy Futures recently found the ibis, a species of birds related to Australian ‘bin chicken’ was the base for evolutionary history during the eighteenth century, when several mummified birds were taken from Egypt to France in 1798.
Dr. Curtis said, “the ibis mummies were taken by Napoleon’s army to Paris, and played a surprising role in an early debate about evolution.” He also remarked that the two naturalists, Georges Cuvier and Jean-Baptist Lamarck, disagreed about the significance of the mummified Egyptian sacred ibises. However, Cuvier looked through the specimens by taking precise measurements to determine the age of the species and making sure that no changes or alteration happens when comparing the mummified birds against modern specimens. After observing the samples, he concluded that this was proof that species could not change over time, which nullified the claims and emerging evolutionary ideas of Lamarck. Lamarck’s idea was that the environmental conditions affect was the reason for the transformation of the species.
Dr. Curtis compared the works of both the scientists Lamark and Curvier and remarked that “Cuvier was a prominent scientist who had a lot of voice and power within society, and he continued the debate through to Lamarck’s death—even criticizing Lamarck’s belief in evolution at his eulogy – setting back the idea for decades.”
Anika Nylander graduated from Florida A&M University in 2016. Anika is a Florida transplant, having grown up in Alaska. After graduating school, it didn’t take didn’t her long to decide she wanted to stay in the lower 48. Anika has written for several major publications including Buzz Feed and the Huffington Post. Anika is our community reporter and also covers world events.