The “Modern Synthesis” of evolutionary biology coalesced and revitalized evolutionary theory beginning in the 1930s. It stressed the explanatory power of natural selection and gradual change to account for the processes that govern natural populations today, as well as patterns in the history of life. In the past 40 years, the synthesis has been challenged on various fronts ranging from paleontology to developmental biology, systematics, biogeography, and molecular and developmental biology. Several of its central propositions have been modified and expanded as a result. How well the synthesis continues to be effective will depend on its continued ability to test its central propositions and the efficacy of its central mechanisms, particularly on the basis of new evidence from emerging fields of study.
Evolution, Darwin, History of biology, “Modern Synthesis”, Evolutionary developmental biology