On the Origin of Species (s)
A 1966 DNA cover themed 6th edition reprint of Charles Darwin's classic 1859 On the Origin of Species. [1]
In famous publications, On the Origin of Species is a 1859 book by English naturalist Charles Darwin that presents his theory of evolution, which explains form change (metamorphosis) and the origin of species according to a mixture of the following: common decent, variation of species, survival of the fittest, and struggle to survive.

Blind random chance
Darwin introduced the idea of natural selection of variations produced by "chance" in chapter five; though he demurred that uses of this term was incorrect, but nevertheless used owing ignorance.

Evolution theory pioneers
Darwin, in his first edition, cites three people as having been forerunner theorists to his own evolution theory:

Johann Goethe (1784)
Erasmus Darwin (1791)
Etienne Saint-Hilaire (1833)

Darwin explains this in following footnote:

"I have taken the date of the first publication of Lamarck from Isid. Geoffroy Saint Hilaire's (' Hist. Nat. Generate,' torn. ii. p. 405, 1859) excellent history of opinion on this subject. In this work a full account is given of Buffon's fluctuating conclusions on the same subject. It is curious how largely my grandfather, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, anticipated the erroneous grounds of opinion, and the views of Lamarck, in his 'Zoonomia' (vol. i. p. 500-510). published in 1794. According to Isid. Geoffroy there is no doubt that Goethe was an extreme partisan of similar views, as shown in the Introduction to a work written in 1794 and 1795, but not published till long afterwards. It is rather a singular instance of the manner in which similar views arise at about the same period, that Goethe in Germany, Dr. Darwin in England, and Geoffroy Saint Hilaire (as we shall immediately see) in France, came to the same conclusion on the origin of species, in the years 1794-6."

See main: Metamorphology
German polyintellect Johann Goethe's metamorphology theory, originally conceived in part in 1784 with his discovery of the human intermaxillary bone, and later published in three part metamorphology treatise set, in the form of the metamorphosis of plants, animals, and humans respectively:

metamorphology (new)

which, of the four respective evolution theories, is the more robust of the group, in that it presents a unified view of form change:

chemical → plant
chemical → animal → human

whereas the other three theories (Erasmus Darwin, 1791; Etienne Saint-Hilaire, 1833; and Charles Darwin, 1959) situate the following divide:

chemical | plant
chemical | animal → human

Hence, maintaining the life | non-life conceptual divide or unbridgeable gap model.

1. Darwin, Charles. (1872). On the Origin of Species. United Holding Group, 1966.

Further reading
● Darwin, Charles. (1859). On the Origin of Species: by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London: John Murray, Albemarle Street.

External links
On the Origin of Species – Wikipedia.

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