XXVIII.1 The history of evolutionary biology can be divided in four stages: the period before Darwin, the period of classical Darwinism, the Neo-Darwinist period and the current Post-Neo-Darwinist period

Traditionally the history of evolutionary biology is divided into three stages:the pre-Darwinist period, theclassical Darwinist period and the Neo-Darwinist period, also called the period of evolutionary synthesis.The first phase basically lasted to 1859, i.e. the year that saw the publication of Darwin’s fundamental work “On the Origin of the Species by Natural Selection”.The beginning of Neo-Darwinism is much more difficult to date; the key works of the main representatives of Neo-Darwinism were, however, published in the 1930’s and 1940’s and the rediscovery of Mendel’s laws and the development of classical genetics in the first decades of the 20th century provided the main stimulus for their formulation.In relation to the character of the shift in the conception of evolutionary biology that has occurred over the past thirty years, it seems to be useful to define a fourth period that, for lack of greater inventiveness, I call the Post-Neo-Darwinist period (and simultaneously, I feel sorry for my successors who might, in the future, want to create a name for the next phase in development of the field).The Post-Neo-Darwinist period basically began at the middle of the 1960’s and beginning of the 1970’s; however, to this day, textbooks tend to be based globally on the concepts of Neo-Darwinism.Thus, we are still virtually living in the epoch of Neo-Darwinism, while in actual fact most important evolutionary biologists are representatives of Post-Neo-Darwinism.

Was this information useful for you?
The classical Darwinian theory of evolution can explain the evolution of adaptive traits only in asexual organisms. The frozen plasticity theory is much more general: It can also explain the origin and evolution of adaptive traits in both asexual and sexual organisms Read more
Draft translation from: Evoluční biologie, 2. vydání (Evolutionary biology, 2nd edition), J. Flegr, Academia Prague 2009. The translation was not done by biologist, therefore any suggestion concerning proper scientific terminology and language usage are highly welcomed. You can send your comments to flegratcesnet [dot] cz. Thank you.