August Wiseman



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August Wisemann developed the second most notable evolutionary theory of the 19th century. Wisemann developed the "programed death" theory which states that animals are programed to have a limited life span. He first revealed his theory in 1882 when he published a paper on his theory which got considerable attention from other evolutionist. When describing his theory he stated that programed death of an animal accomplished an evolutionary purpose which essentially means that when animals are programed to have a cretin lifespan it helped in the evolution of that species. What his theory essentially states is that when older animals that are not as evolved as the younger members of the species are set to die off they then free up resources (food,habitat) for the younger more evolved members. Although Wisemanns theory can stand on its own it did seem to connect in some way to Charles Darwin's theory.

Charles Darwin's theory stated that evolution was a slow process and that it happened in small steps. He proposed that when a species is evolving that the changes are small and that each generation was slightly more evolved then the one that came before
them. Wisemanns idea was that programed death assisted in the evolutionary proses that Darwin proposed by eliminating the competition (older generation) for resources for the more evolved generation. Although Wisemanns idea of programmed death seemed pretty solid some theorist saw some problems in this theory.
The largest problem they saw was that Wisemann was having a hard time finding evidence in nature. They brought up the idea that since most animals don't survive long enough in nature to die from old age. They said that since most animal are usually killed off by other causes before they can reach an age that they could die from that this doesn't actually effect the evolutionary process enough to make any real difference. There was an effort made to look for a "death gland" or "suicide mechanism" that existed in mammals, but it was unsuccessful in finding anything. Wisemann actually recanted his theory and today it is taught only as scientific interest. Although his theory wasn't taken that seriously later in the 20th century there was a renewed interest in his theory but this time it was programed aging not death.evolution.jpg


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