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As "Darwinism" became widely accepted in the 1870s, cariacatures of Charles Darwin with an ape or monkey body symbolised evolution.[1]

Darwinism is a term used to talk about different ideas connected to those Charles Darwin had about evolution.[2] The meaning of Darwinism has changed over time, and depends on who uses the term.[3]

The term was coined by Thomas Henry Huxley in April 1860.[4] He used it to describe evolutionary concepts, including earlier concepts such as Malthusianism and Spencerism. In the late 19th century it came to mean the concept that natural selection was the only mechanism of evolution, in contrast to Lamarckism. Around 1900, Gregor Mendel's work was rediscovered, Darwinism was the word used to classify the ideas. Today, both theories have been unified. As modern evolutionary theory has developed, the term has been associated at times with specific ideas.[3]


  1. Browne, Janet (2003). Charles Darwin: The Power of Place. London: Pimlico. pp. 376-379. ISBN 0-7126-6837-3 .
  2. John Wilkins (1998). "How to be Anti-Darwinian". TalkOrigins Archive. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Joel Hanes. "What is Darwinism?". TalkOrigins Archive. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
  4. Huxley, T.H. (April 1860). "ART. VIII.-DARWIN ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES.". Westminster Review. pp. 541-70. Retrieved 2008-06-19. "What if the orbit of Darwinism should be a little too circular?"