Most of the world knows Charles Darwin as the father of the theory of evolution. There was, however, someone who thought about it long before him. Al-Jahiz was an Arabic scholar. He was born in Basra in 776 and later, frequently traveled to Samarra and Baghdad to study literary and scientific works.
After extensive work with animals, Al-Jahiz put forward a theory on biological evolution. He recognized the environmental effects on animal life and also the way species changed under different factors.
Al-Jahiz also identified natural selection, or the evolution of a species according to which members actually survive to reproduce. Sounds like he would have given Darwin a run for his money.