The evolution of species was the subject of conjecture long before Darwin's day. Here Aristotle attributes to Empedocles an evolutionary doctrine strikingly reminiscent of natural selection: "Empedocles says that the greater part of the members of animals were generated by chance . . . What, then, hinders but that the parts in Nature may also thus arise [from necessity]? For instance, that the teeth should arise from necessity, the front teeth sharp and adapted to divide the food, the molars broad and adapted to breaking the food into pieces. It may be said that they were not made for this purpose, but that this purposive arrangement came about by chance; and the same reasoning is applied to other parts of the body in which subsistence for some purpose is apparent. And it is argued that where all things happened as if they were made for some purpose, being aptly united by chance, these were preserved, but such as were not aptly made, these were lost and still perish, according to what Empedocles says concerning the bull species with human heads. This, therefore, and similar reasoning, may lead some to doubt on this subject."
Source: Physics, Fourth Century B.C.
Contributed by: Zaady