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A simple way to think of evolution is "descent with modification" — over many generations, organisms change into something different.

He figured out that rocks are deposited in layers with older rocks at the bottom, and in the landscape of Tuscany, he thought he saw the events described in Genesis.

In the century following his death, however, people who searched rock layers for remains of Earth's earliest inhabitants found something odd.

Furthermore, many animals — giant ground sloths in South America, monstrous reptiles in England — had gone extinct long ago.

So even if people continued to look to the Bible for spiritual guidance, they began to doubt it was a literal account of the history of life on Earth.

He suggested that organisms could acquire needed characteristics for changing environments, an idea that has been laughed off by history, but his views were actually more nuanced than modern accounts usually relate.

Cuvier, regarded as the greatest comparative anatomist of his day, disdained Lamarckian "transmutation" but that didn't keep others from considering it, such as Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwin's grandfather.

Biological evolution is change in the characteristics of living organisms over generations.

Despite your vastly superior tastes in music and fashion, you probably look vaguely like your parents, just as they look vaguely like their parents.

Only later came Noah's Flood, which was held responsible for depositing all those weird remains, like shells, in rocks on top of mountains.

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