St. George Jackson Mivart

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St. George Jackson Mivart (1827–1900) was an English biologist. He is most well known for his criticism of natural selection in his book of On the Genesis of Species published in 1871.


He devoted himself to medical and biological studies. He was Vice-President of the Zoological Society twice (1869 and 1882); Fellow of the Linnean Society from 1862, Secretary from 1874–80, and Vice-President in 1892. In 1867 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for his work "On the Appendicular skeleton of the Primates".


As a biologist Mivart accepted evolution, but was a non-Darwinian. He became a critic of Darwin's views on natural selection and instead advocated saltationism and Lamarckian evolution. He published his book On the Genesis of Species in 1871, which was a criticism of natural selection.

In the sixth edition of Origin of Species, Charles Darwin responded to the criticism of Mivart. In response Mivart wrote a negative review of Darwin's book Descent of Man in the Quarterly Review, and after this both Darwin and Mivart broke communication with each other.

Though admitting evolution in general, Mivart denied its applicability to the human intellect (a view also shared by Alfred Russel Wallace). His views as to the relationship between human nature and intellect and animal nature in general were given in Nature and Thought (1882) and in the Origin of Human Reason (1889).

Mivart was a Roman Catholic and is sometimes described as a theistic evolutionist.

Selected publications[edit]

  • On the Genesis of Species (1871)
  • Man and apes: an exposition of structural resemblances and differences bearing upon questions of affinity and origin (1873)
  • Nature and Thought (1882)
  • Origin of Human Reason (1889)

See also[edit]


  • Bowler, Peter J. (2003). Evolution: The History of an Idea. University of California Press.
  • Bowler, Peter J. (1983). The Eclipse of Darwinism: anti-Darwinian evolutionary theories in the decades around 1900. Johns Hopkins University Press.