Contingency or inevitability? What would happen if the evolutionary tape were replayed?

Fifty years before Darwin defended his theory of evolution by natural selection in The Origin of Species, the French biologist Jean Baptiste Lamarck put forward an evolutionary theory of his own. According to Lamarck, life has an inherent tendency to develop from simple to complex through a preordained sequence of stages. The lineage to which human beings belong is the oldest, since we are the most complex of living things. Present-day worms belong to a lineage that is much younger, since they are simpler. For Lamarck, the human beings and worms that exist today do not share a common ancestor, even though human beings derive from worm-like ancestors.
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