Transmutation of species  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Transmutation of species was a term used by Jean Baptiste Lamarck in 1809 for his theory that described the altering of one species into another, and the term is often used to describe 19th century evolutionary ideas that preceded Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection. Other 19th century proponents of pre-Darwinian evolutionary ideas included √Čtienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Robert Grant, and Robert Chambers who anonymously published the book Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. Opposition in the scientific community, led by influential scientists like the anatomists Georges Cuvier and Richard Owen and the geologist Charles Lyell, to these early theories of evolution was intense. The debate over them was an important stage in the history of evolutionary thought and would influence the subsequent reaction to Darwin's theory.

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