Lamarckism is the idea that a "soft inheritance" can occur which means that characteristics acquired during a lifetime can be passed along to offspring just like genetic inborn characteristics. This concept was championed by French biologist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck (1744-1829) who incorporated it into his evolutionary theories. By doing this he incorporated a belief that humanity, as well as all other organisms, are progressing towards a greater complexity of thought and action. For example, according to Lamarckism giraffes who stretch their necks to reach higher would gradually and permanently extend and strengthen their necks. They then would pass along these longer necks to their offspring.

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