Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

1744 (Bazentin, France) – 1829 (Paris)

Though Lamarck’s ideas are largely discredited, he was the first to propose a coherent theory of evolution. Bernard de Jussieu taught him; his mentor Buffon helped him ascend the botanical ranks. Rousseau was, inspirationally, met on a walk. Among his professional colleagues, Daubenton wrote a preface for him, Geoffroy was one of the few to fully respect him, Cuvier disparaged his ideas and destroyed him after his death. De Candolle befriended him, Lamarck entrusting him with publication of a new edition of his ‘Flore Française.’ It’s thought that Balzac and Saint-Beuve attended his lectures; whether they met is uncertain.