A useful reminder for evolutionary biologists and science journalists, posted to the Evoldir list by Joel Parker:
I have noticed many evolutionary biologists making an embarrassing mistake of falsely attributing the first use of the tree analogy to Darwin. This has occurred in numerous documentaries and on websites which I will pass on naming here. Ironically, the earliest use of the tree analogy diagram to depict evolution was published in the year of Darwin’s birth (1809) by Lamarck in his book Philosophie Zoologique (see pg 463, http://tinyurl.com/knt7vr). Lamarck even uses botanical terms (branches and rameaux) to describe the origin of animals with respect to this figure. The figure that is usually cited from Darwin’s notebook is from 1837 (http://tinyurl.com/6hs5uv), a full 8 years after Lamarck’s death. Even with our high admiration for Darwin, we should at least give credit where credit is due, and not forget that much of evolution was becoming understood before Darwin. Explaining the mechanism of natural selection was Darwin’s great contribution.