T. H. Huxley was 'Darwin's bulldog', a scientist who single-mindedly defended Darwin's notion that evolution was driven by the process called natural selection.
When Darwin proposed in 1859 that evolution was due to natural selection, he was not the first to try to explain evolution, or the first to propose that cause.
In 1667 Nicolaus Steno recognized the homology of the mammalian ovary with that of the egg-laying animals, thus making a major advance in comparative anatomy.
In 1753 Buffon wrote about the donkey, which he treated as a degenerate horse, but this still implied the operation of a form of evolution from earlier forms.
In 1801 Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck elaborated his theory of evolution based on inheritance of changes to organs acquired by continued use and loss through disuse.
In 1802, William Paley published his Natural Theology, an 'argument by design' for the existence of God, and boosted interest in taxonomy and natural history.
Two centuries later, the intellectually bankrupt 'argument by design' is still being peddled, disguised as an 'all-new' 'intelligent design hypothesis'.
In 1838, Charles Darwin read what Thomas Malthus had to say about populations. This argument would be a key component in his later reasoning about evolution.
In 1844, Charles Darwin wrote out his first sketch of the theory of evolution by natural selection. The main points were there, but it lacked detailed evidence.
In 1844, when Darwin wrote a first draft of what would later become his world-changing 'On the Origin of species', he set it to one side nervously.
In 1844, Robert Chambers published his anonymous 'Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation'. It may have encouraged Darwin to delay publishing his ideas.
After the anonymous publication of the 'Vestiges', there was a lot of controversy about the identity of the author, and also about the book itself.
In 1857, Charles Darwin wrote a long letter to Asa Gray, setting out his arguments for believing that evolution was driven by the effects of natural selection.
In 1858, spurred by Alfred Russel Wallace, Charles Darwin wrote and presented a short paper on his evolutionary theories, and also a letter from Wallace.
Many of Darwin's colleagues went to great lengths to establish that Darwin had thought of natural selection first, and had discussed it with them.
In 1859, Charles Darwin finally published the first edition of 'On the Origin of species', a work that would go through a number of revisions in his lifetime.
Adam Sedgwick, Darwin's old geology teacher at Cambridge, never accepted the latter's theory of evolution, remaining one of the notion's stronger opponents.
While Charles Darwin championed the idea of evolution driven by natural selection, but often showed signs of him accepting the inheritance of acquired traits.
Where Charles Darwin differed from those who went before him: he had the insight to see that natural selection could drive evolution, and he had the evidence.
Both Darwin and Wallace were prepared to recognise the role of natural selection because they had both collected large numbers of specimens in many places.
In 1976, Richard Dawkins published The Selfish Gene, which had as its thesis that genes which acted in a way to favour their survival would be selected.
In 1972, Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge proposed the notion that punctuated equilibrium may be seen in evolution, with quiet periods and active periods.
This file is http://members.ozemail.com.au/~macinnis/scifun/splatsevolhist.htm, first created on February 16, 2008. Last recorded revision (well I get lazy and forget sometimes!) was on February 16, 2008.