The theory of evolution proposes that over time the heritable characteristics, or traits, of a population of organisms changes. Heritable traits are encoded by the genetic material of an organism. Evolution generally results from three processes: random mutation to genetic material, random genetic drift, and non-random natural selection within populations and species. Those organisms most capable of surviving produce more offspring and continue to exist while those less capable die out. While some ideas of evolution have existed for centuries, it was the development of the theory of natural selection developed by English naturalists Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace (each acting independently) in the 1840s and '50s, that provided a viable explanation for evolution.
The unusual flora and fauna of Atlantis gave credence to the theory of evolution, as these species had developed in complete isolation from the rest of the world, and reached a level of unique biodiversity matched only in New Zealand.
The transformational theory of life was first developed and proposed in 1661 by Samuel Pepys, an English amateur scientist and thinker. The theory was rudimentary at this point, obviously, as the concept of genetics was unknown. He presented this theory to the Royal Society on 28 May 1661 giving as an example the continued existence of men in Europe while sims survived only in the New World where no men had lived until recently.
Most people agree that had the New World been populated by human beings rather than sims, the theory would not have been developed until much later, if ever.
Victoria Griffin of New Zion, Reverence, had heard of evolution in a vague manner, only remembering that it was something evil. By contrast, Janice, of the nearby Federation base, was intensely interested in the theory and its implication for the Haldol population, specifically in the matter of the division of planetary regions between the Haldol and New Zion.
The Hypothesis of Divine Choice was proposed by "Inward," a mage from the mother kingdom, a few years before the Detinan Civil War. The hypothesis claimed that the gods created lower creatures than humans and other modern animals, and let them vie for supremacy of the physical universe without intervening on behalf of early man or anyone else. The better suited beasts left surviving offspring, and the less suited didn't. Many priests considered this notion heretical, and the most frequent objection to it was expressed as "With an idea like that, who needs gods at all?"
The Detinan mage Alva believed in Inward's theory. He was tolerated because of his sorcerous skill and because he was believed to be just as strange. On one occasion, Alva told Lieutenant General Doubting George that military discipline, with all its titles and rituals, strongly resembled the Hypothesis of Divine Choice and gave it credence. George was inwardly horrified that every argument he could think of to refute this point, only reinforced the mage's position further.
The savant Iffud was the first member of the Race to put forth the theory of evolution, sometime around the year 55,000 BC according to Tosevites. He based his conclusions on studies of fossils found in the Crimson Desert.