Though history will probably remember Richard Dawkins as the activist who spearheaded a new atheist movement, there is something far more famous and important that he invented — and few people know it. He is the guy who first popularized the idea of the meme, way back in the 1970s. That's right. Dawkins is indirectly responsible for every fruit-adorned cat, weird Japanese mashup video, and animated gif from Harry Potter fandom that has spurted out of the internet and into your face.
But of course, Dawkins's idea of memes wasn't quite the same thing as lolcats or ROFLCon. Here's how the idea of the meme evolved, and where it came from.