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MUSE | Natural Selection | Unit Overview and Materials | Section 2: Comparing Explanatory Models | 2C: Understanding Lamarck's Model


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Course Material 2C: Understanding Lamarck's Model

In this portion of the unit, students will have an opportunity to understand the ideas proposed by Jean Baptiste de Lamarck in 1809. Lamarck was an eighteenth century naturalist who came to the idea that organisms change over time relatively late in his career. Among other things, he proposed a mechanism for cumulative change that was dependent on the needs of organisms and resulted from the use or disuse of particular body parts. Students will read an excerpt of his original writing and answer questions designed to help them understand the model proposed by Lamarck and work in groups to consider the prior knowledge and beliefs that may have influenced him.

Successful completion of this material involves:

  • Reading an edited version of an excerpt from Zoological Philosophy
  • Answering questions about the reading and participating in a class discussion
  • Working in a group to consider and answer questions about Lamarck's prior knowledge and beliefs


Students will provide written answers to questions on the reading and the group discussion of Lamarck's prior knowledge and beliefs.