Die Säulen des Darwinismus

Zum 150. Mal jährt sich in diesem Monat die Veröffentlichung von Charles Darwins Die Entstehung der Arten . Die von Darwin in diesem großartigen Buch vorgelegte Evolutionstheorie beruht auf zwei Säulen: der Idee der Abstammung mit Veränderungen und der Idee der natürlichen Selektion.

Darwin war der Ansicht, dass die heutigen Organismen von sehr viel einfacheren Ahnen abstammen: Sie sind die Produkte ununterbrochener Vererbungslinien, die bis zum Ursprung allen Lebens zurückreichen. Inzwischen gibt es eine Menge Belege – von Studien uralter Fossilien bis hin zu den neusten Entdeckungen der Molekularbiologie –, die diese Theorie bestätigen.

Die Idee der Abstammung mit Veränderungen freilich hat nicht Darwin erfunden. Schon fünfzig Jahre vor ihm hatte Jean-Baptiste Lamarck behauptet, dass Lebewesen Produkte eines langen historischen Transformationsprozesses seien. Doch die von ihm vorgeschlagenen evolutionären Mechanismen, zu denen auch die Vererbung von durch die Umwelt hervorgerufenen Merkmalen gehörte, fanden keinen Anklang.

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