Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis

Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis author of Venus physique: bibliographical excerpts

"In arguing that a single ancestral form might diverge into a number of "species," Buffon came close to the modern concept of evolution. His recognition that migration to different parts of the world might cause the divergence also marks a pioneering effort in the study of geographical distribution as a clue to the history of life. But his idea that the environment acts directly on the organism through organic particles is a long way from the theory of natural selection. There is also the question of the origin of ancestral forms from which members of each family have diverged. In the modern theory, these too must have evolved from some even more basic form, whereas Buffon insisted that the character of each family is permanently fixed by its internal mold. Yet families must have had a starting point in time, because Buffon believed that the earth at first would have been too hot to support life. His alternative to evolution on a large scale was, in fact, spontaneous generation (Wilkie, 1956; Roger, 1963; Bowler, 1973).(Bowler PJ (1984) Evolution, The HIstory of an Idea. Univ of California Press: Berkeley p. 71)

human evolution