Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was the English naturalist who proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Scientists   >   Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin



Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was the English naturalist who proposed the theory of evolution by Natural Selection.

Charles Darwin was born on England. On his father's side, he was the grandson of Erasmus Darwin (who is himself famous as a natural philosopher), and on his mother's, the grandson of Josiah Wedgwood (famous for the industrialization of pottery manufacture).

Charles Darwin was educated at Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities, and famously went on a 5 year (1831 to 1836) voyage with HMS Beagle - while the ship surveyed and charted coasts, Darwin investigated geology and collected natural history specimens.

HMS Beagle painted by Conrad Martens:
HMS Beagle painted by Conrad Martens

Over the next few years, Darwin gradually developed his theory of Natural Selection. Darwin however held back from publishing his theory, perhaps noting the storm of controversy caused by a popular-science book about Lamarkian evolution, Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, which was anonymously published (but written by a Scottish journalist, Robert Chambers). Although, Darwin considered the science of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation to be weak, it did allow to further develop his own work, and anticipate potential counter-arguments.

In 1856, through his friend, the eminent geologist Sir Charles Lyell, Darwin became aware of the work of Alfred Russel Wallace, who seemed to be thinking along similar lines to Darwin. Lyell urged Darwin to publish in order to establish priority, and Darwin began work on a short paper - which eventually grew into a large book. In 1857, Darwin sent an abstract of his book to the American botanist, Asa Grey. In 1858, while Darwin's own book was still only half complete, Darwin received a paper from Wallace describing Natural Selection. As a result, although Darwin himself could not attend since his baby son had died of scarlet fever, Darwin's friends Lyell and Joseph Dalton Hooker, made a joint presentation to the Linnean Society on July 1st. Finally, in 1859, Darwin published "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life" (usually abbreviated to simply "On the Origin of Species" which was an immediate success, but also caused a storm of controversy.

"On the Origin of Species" soon became a staple scientific text, and was translated into many different languages. Despite a number of illnesses, Darwin continued to publish many other books through the remainder his life.

Charles Darwin in 1868:
Charles Darwin in 1868

Darwin died in 1882, aged 71, and was given a state funeral at Westminister Abbey (one of only five non-royals to ever receive this honor). Even during his lifetime, many species and geographical places and locations have been named after him, and this has continued through to the present day. Many biographical and fictional works about Darwin's life have been written, he has also been remembered on British currency (including a special commemorative two pound coin issued in 2009) and by Darwin Day, which marks the anniversary of his birth.

During Darwin's life, the main opposition to his theory came from religious people, and even today there are many religious people who do not accept the idea of evolution or Darwin's ideas in particular. (although in 2008 the Church of England issued an apology stating "for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still"). As far as the scientific community is concerned, although the idea of evolution was quickly and widely accepted, it took quite a few years until Darwin's mechanism, Natural Selection, was generally accepted as the process by which evolution occurred - indeed it was not until the development of the "Modern Evolutionary Synthesis" (which combined Darwin's theory of Natural Selection with Mendelian genetics) in the 1930s. Today however, although there remains debate about various detailed technical issues, Natural Selection and Mendelian genetics together form the basis of our understanding of biology.
Caricature of Charles Darwin as an ape
(from The Hornet magazine 1871):
Caricature of Charles Darwin as an ape



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The Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition
By Charles Darwin

Signet Book
Released: 2003-09-02
Mass Market Paperback (576 pages)

The Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition
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Charles Darwin’s classic that exploded into public controversy, revolutionized the course of science, and continues to transform our views of the world.

Few other books have created such a lasting storm of controversy as The Origin of Species. Darwin’s theory that species derive from other species by a gradual evolutionary process and that the average level of each species is heightened by the “survival of the fittest” stirred up popular debate to fever pitch. Its acceptance revolutionized the course of science.

As Sir Julian Huxley, the noted biologist, points out in his illuminating introduction, the importance of Darwin’s contribution to modern scientific knowledge is almost impossible to evaluate: “a truly great book, one which can still be read with profit by professional biologist.”

Includes an Introduction by Sir Julian Huxley
Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species
Crown Books for Young Readers
Released: 2019-10-29
Hardcover (64 pages)

Charles Darwin s On the Origin of Species
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A picture book adaptation of Charles Darwin's groundbreaking On the Origin of Species, lushly illustrated and told in accessible and engaging easy-to-understand text for young readers.

On the Origin of Species revolutionized our understanding of the natural world. Now young readers can discover Charles Darwin's groundbreaking theory of evolution for themselves in this stunning picture-book adaptation that uses stylish illustrations and simple text to introduce how species form, develop, and change over time.
The Origin of Species and the Voyage of the Beagle
By Charles Darwin

Everyman s Library
Released: 2003-10-14
Hardcover (1024 pages)

The Origin of Species and the Voyage of the Beagle
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Easily the most influential book published in the nineteenth century, Darwin’s The Origin of Species is also that most unusual phenomenon, an altogether readable discussion of a scientific subject. On its appearance in 1859 it was immediately recognized by enthusiasts and detractors alike as a work of the greatest importance: its revolutionary theory of evolution by means of natural selection provoked a furious reaction that continues to this day.

The Origin of Species
is here published together with Darwin’s earlier Voyage of the ‘Beagle.’ This 1839 account of the journeys to South America and the Pacific islands that first put Darwin on the track of his remarkable theories derives an added charm from his vivid description of his travels in exotic places and his eye for the piquant detail.

The Autobiography of Charles Darwin: 1809-1882
By Charles Darwin

W. W. Norton & Company
Paperback (224 pages)

The Autobiography of Charles Darwin: 1809-1882
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The only complete edition.

Charles Darwin's Autobiography was first published in 1887, five years after his death. It was a bowdlerized edition: Darwin's family, attempting to protect his posthumous reputation, had deleted all the passages they considered too personal or controversial. The present complete edition did not appear until 1959, one hundred years after the publication of The Origin of Species. Upon its appearance, Loren Eiseley wrote:

"No man can pretend to know Darwin who does not know his autobiography. Here, for the first time since his death, it is presented complete and unexpurgated, as it exists in the family archives. It will prove invaluable to biographers and cast new light on the personality of one of the world's greatest scientists. Nora Barlow, Darwin's granddaughter, has proved herself a superb editor. Her own annotations make fascinating reading."

The daring and restless mind, the integrity and simplicity of Darwin's character are revealed in this direct and personal account of his life―his family, his education, his explorations of the natural world, his religion and philosophy. The editor has provided page and line references to the more important restored passages, and previously unpublished notes and letters on family matters and on the controversy between Samuel Butler appear in an appendix.
The Correspondence of Charles Darwin: Volume 27, 1879
By Charles Darwin

Cambridge University Press
Hardcover (298 pages)

The Correspondence of Charles Darwin: Volume 27, 1879
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This volume is part of the definitive edition of letters written by and to Charles Darwin, the most celebrated naturalist of the nineteenth century. Notes and appendixes put these fascinating and wide-ranging letters in context, making the letters accessible to both scholars and general readers. Darwin depended on correspondence to collect data from all over the world, and to discuss his emerging ideas with scientific colleagues, many of whom he never met in person. The letters are published chronologically: volume 27 includes letters from 1879, the year in which Darwin completed his manuscript on movement in plants. He also researched and published a biography of his grandfather Erasmus. The Darwins spent most of August on holiday in the Lake District. In October, Darwin's youngest son, Horace, became officially engaged to Ida Farrer, after some initial resistance from her father, who, although an admirer of Charles Darwin, thought Horace a poor prospect for his daughter.
Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution (Inventions and Discovery)
By Heather Adamson

Brand: Capstone Press
Library Binding (32 pages)

Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution (Inventions and Discovery)
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Tells the story of how Charles Darwin developed his controversial theory of evolution based on the research he conducted during his voyage on the HMS Beagle. Written in graphic-novel format.
The Voyage of the Beagle
By Charles Darwin

imusti
Released: 1989-11-07
Paperback (448 pages)

The Voyage of the Beagle
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  • Penguin Classics
Product Description:
Charles Darwin's account of the momentous voyage which set in motion the current of intellectual events leading to The Origin of Species 

When HMS Beagle sailed out of Devonport on 27 December 1831, Charles Darwin was twenty-two and setting off on the voyage of a lifetime. His journal, here reprinted in a shortened form, shows a naturalist making patient observations concerning geology, natural history, people, places and events. Volcanoes in the Galapagos, the Gossamer spider of Patagonia and the Australasian coral reefs - all are to be found in these extraordinary writings. The insights made here were to set in motion the intellectual currents that led to the theory of evolution, and the most controversial book of the Victorian age: The Origin of Species. This volume reprints Charles Darwin's journal in a shortened form. In their introduction Janet Brown and Michael Neve provide a background to Darwin's thought and work, and this edition also includes notes, maps, appendices and an essay on scientific geology and the Bible by Robert FitzRoy, Darwin's friend and Captain of the Beagle. 

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
On The Origin of Species
By Sabina Radeva

Puffin
Released: 2019-02-07
Hardcover (64 pages)

On The Origin of Species
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The first ever picture-book retelling of Charles Darwin's On The Origin of Species; this accessible work brings evolution to the younger generation through stylish illustrations and a simple, easy-to-understand text.

On The Origin of Species has been the definitive explanation of the theory of evolution since it was first published in 1859. Now molecular biologist and illustrator Sabina Radeva unites her two passions to create a 48-page retelling of this seminal text.

Pulling together Darwin's observations from his travels around the world and his groundbreaking - and controversial - explanation of how species form, develop and change over hundreds of thousands of years, On The Origin of Species is as relevant and important now as it ever was.

Darwin: The Story of the Man and His Theories of Evolution
By Dr. John van Wyhe

Andre Deutsch
Released: 2018-08-07
Hardcover (160 pages)

Darwin: The Story of the Man and His Theories of Evolution
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Produced in association with the Natural History Museum, London, this stunning volumeoffers an in-depth examination of one of the significant figures in nineteenth- and twentieth-century science: Charles Darwin.
 
Take a look at the life of the incredible scientist who forever altered our view of life on earth. Darwin follows the man from his birth to his last days, delving into his groundbreaking publications, far-flung travels, and theories on evolution. More than 160 stunning images and illustrations include personal diary entries, letters, and handwritten notes, as well as sketches from Darwin's famous works. In compelling detail, this illustrated biography covers not only Darwin’s scientific career and On the Origin of Species, but also his personal struggles, allowing us to truly see and understand the human being.
Charles Darwin's Notebooks from the Voyage of the Beagle
Brand: Cambridge University Press
Hardcover (650 pages)

Charles Darwin s Notebooks from the Voyage of the Beagle
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This is the first full edition of the notebooks used by Darwin during his epic voyage in the Beagle. It contains transcriptions of all fifteen notebooks, which now survive as some of the most precious documents in the history of science. The notebooks record the entire range of Darwin's interests and activities during the Beagle journey, with observations on geology, zoology, botany, ecology, barometer and thermometer readings, ethnography, anthropology, archaeology and linguistics, along with maps, drawings, financial records, shopping lists, reading notes, essays and personal diary entries. Some of Darwin's critical discoveries and experiences, made famous through his own publications, are recorded in their most immediate form in the notebooks, and published here for the first time. The notebook texts are accompanied by full editorial apparatus and introductions explaining Darwin's actions at each stage, focussing on discoveries that were pivotal to convincing him that life on Earth had evolved.


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