Researchers at the University of Lyef near Amsterdam were astounded today when, during their celebrations to mark Charles Darwin's 200th Birthday, they realised his Theory of Evolution is no longer similar to the original. Scientists were observing the Theory when somebody noticed that there were elements of it that seemed different. By comparing the version held on the University's Intranet alongside the original it became clear that the two were no longer the same.
It seems that over the years the Theory has been copied over and over, and very small accidental changes have been made. With the copies being distributed all over the world, it was inevitable that they would end up being stored in a variety of conditions. Over time, some of the copies have been lost; in library fires, during floods or simply being lost amoungst other documents. More recently, many computer-based versions have dissapeared during disk crashes or other data storage failures. These Theories were then replaced from the pool of available copies without anyone realising that they were slightly different and that a branch of the Theory had been lost.
Although all Theories can be traced back to the original, the University now believes that there are seven distinct families, with each being given a name such as '1892 Ink Blot', 'Leipzig translation error' and 'Photocopier/Shredder Blunder - 1978' based on the diversity event that created them. The latest of these families, simply known as 'Wikipedia', is a major departure, and is thought to account for the majority of Theories available in modern media.
So what does this mean to the future of the Theory of Evolution? Well some scientists now believe that all theories will change over time to suit their environment. They suggest it is natural selection that determines that some versions of a Theory will survive, and some will perish. However, the scientific establishment claims that this is heresy, and that today's versions of the Theory go against the teachings of Darwin himself.
One thing is for sure. When Darwin first conceived his original Theory of Evolution back in 1838, he couldn't possibly have perceived how things were likely to change over time.