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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From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin's Four Great Books (Voyage of the Beagle, The Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals)
By Charles Darwin

Darwin, Charles/ Wilson, Edward O.
Hardcover (1706 pages)

From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin s Four Great Books (Voyage of the Beagle, The Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals)
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Hailed as "superior" by Nature, this landmark volume is  available in a collectible, boxed edition.

Never before have the four great works of Charles Darwin―Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle (1845), The Origin of Species (1859), The Descent of Man (1871), and The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals (1872)―been collected under one cover. Undertaking this challenging endeavor 123 years after Darwin's death, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward O. Wilson has written an introductory essay for the occasion, while providing new, insightful introductions to each of the four volumes and an afterword that examines the fate of evolutionary theory in an era of religious resistance. In addition, Wilson has crafted a creative new index to accompany these four texts, which links the nineteenth-century, Darwinian evolutionary concepts to contemporary biological thought. Beautifully slipcased, and including restored versions of the original illustrations, From So Simple a Beginning turns our attention to the astounding power of the natural creative process and the magnificence of its products. 101 illustrations
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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  • Signet Book
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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
On the Origin of Species: A Facsimile of the First Edition (Harvard Paperbacks)
By Charles Darwin

Brand: Harvard University Press
Paperback (540 pages)

On the Origin of Species: A Facsimile of the First Edition (Harvard Paperbacks)
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It is now generally recognized that the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859 not only decisively altered the basic concepts of biological theory but had a profound and lasting influence on social, philosophic, and religious thought. This work is rightly regarded as one of the most important books ever printed.

The first edition had a freshness and uncompromising directness that were considerably weakened in subsequent editions. Nearly all reprints were based on the greatly modified sixth edition (1872), and the only modern reprint changes pagination, making references to the original very difficult. Clearly, there has been a need for a facsimile reprint. Professor Mayr's introduction has a threefold purpose: to list passages in the first edition that Darwin altered in later editions; to point out instances in which Darwin was clearly pioneering; and to call attention to neglected passages that show Darwin as a much deeper thinker than has been recognized. No one can fail to be impressed by the originality of Darwin's treatment and by the intellectual challenge his work presents even to the modern reader.

On the Origin of Species: By Means of Natural Selection (Dover Thrift Editions)
By Charles Darwin

imusti
Released: 2006-06-23
Paperback (336 pages)

On the Origin of Species: By Means of Natural Selection (Dover Thrift Editions)
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  • Dover Publications
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"The Origin is one of the most important books ever published, and a knowledge of it should be a part of the intellectual equipment of every educated person. . . . The book will endure in future ages so long as a knowledge of science persists among mankind." — Nature
It took Charles Darwin more than twenty years to publish this book, in part because he realized that it would ignite a firestorm of controversy. On the Origin of Species first appeared in 1859, and it remains a continuing source of conflict to this day. Even among those who reject its ideas, however, the work's impact is undeniable. In science, philosophy, and theology, this is a book that changed the world.
In addition to its status as the focus of a dramatic turning point in scientific thought, On the Origin of Species stands as a remarkably readable study. Carefully reasoned and well-documented in its arguments, the work offers coherent views of natural selection, adaptation, the struggle for existence, survival of the fittest, and other concepts that form the foundation of modern evolutionary theory. This volume is a reprint of the critically acclaimed first edition.
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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  • Everyman s Library
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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.

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
 

On the Origin of the Species: Slip-cased Edition
By Charles Darwin

imusti
Hardcover (384 pages)

On the Origin of the Species: Slip-cased Edition
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  • Arcturus Publishing Ltd
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On the Origin of Species is a book that changed the way we think about the development of life on earth.

The author's controversial theory of natural selection, or survival of the fittest, would make him internationally famous and put the issue of evolution at the centre of a fierce debate which still rages some 150 years after the book's first publication.

This clothbound edition includes over one hundred delicately detailed and informative contemporary illustrations, many of them relating to the discoveries Darwin made during the second voyage of the research ship, H.M.S. Beagle. A truly beautiful and highly collectible edition in its own slipcase.

The Origin of Species
By Charles Darwin

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (134 pages)

The Origin of Species
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The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
The Origin of Species (or more completely, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life), was published on 24 November 1859, is a work of scientific literature by Charles Darwin which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. It is one of the most famous works in the history of science and foundational in the sphere of evolutionary study. Darwinism is a minimum program for everyone who studies the evolution of nature. Charles Darwin wrote this book interestingly, emotionally, and in a popular form, explaining numerous biological ideas and events of the nature...

Quotation from The Origin of species:

  • Although much remains obscure, and will long remain obscure, … I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the main but not exclusive means of modification
  • Owing to this struggle for life, any variation, however slight and from whatever cause proceeding, if it be in any degree profitable to an individual of any species, in its infinitely complex relations to other organic beings and to external nature, will tend to the preservation of that individual, and will generally be inherited by its offspring
  • Lastly, isolation, by checking immigration and consequently competition, will give time for any new variety to be slowly improved; and this may sometimes be of importance in the production of new species. If, however, an isolated area be very small, either from being surrounded by barriers, or from having very peculiar physical conditions, the total number of the individuals supported on it will necessarily be very small; and fewness of individuals will greatly retard the production of new species through natural selection, by decreasing the chance of the appearance of favourable variations
  • Looking not to any one time, but to all time, if my theory be true, numberless intermediate varieties, linking most closely all the species of the same group together, must assuredly have existed; but the very process of natural selection constantly tends, as has been so often remarked, to exterminate the parent forms and the intermediate links. Consequently evidence of their former existence could be found only amongst fossil remains
On the Origin of Species (Penguin Classics)
By Charles Darwin

imusti
Released: 2009-10-27
Paperback (480 pages)

On the Origin of Species (Penguin Classics)
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  • Penguin Classics
Product Description:
Charles Darwin's seminal formulation of the theory of Evolution, On the Origin of Species continues to be as controversial today as when it was first published.

Written for a general readership, On the Origin of Species sold out on the day of its publication and has remained in print ever since. Instantly and persistently controversial, the concept of natural selection transformed scientific analysis about all life on Earth. Before the Origin of Species, accepted thinking held that life was the static and perfect creation of God. By a single, systematic argument Darwin called this view into question. His ideas have affected public perception of everything from religion to economics. William Bynum's introduction discusses Darwin's life, the publication and reception of the themes of On the Origin of Species, and the subsequent development of its major themes. The new edition also includes brief biographies of some of the most important scientific thinkers leading up to and surrounding the Origin of Species, suggested further reading, notes and a chronology.

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.
Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation
By Michael Keller

Rodale Books
Released: 2009-10-27
Paperback (192 pages)

Charles Darwin s On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation
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A stunning graphic adaptation of one of the most famous, contested, and important books of all time.

Few books have been as controversial or as historically significant as Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. Since the moment it was released on November 24, 1859, Darwin's masterwork has been heralded for changing the course of science and condemned for its implied challenges to religion.

In Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, author Michael Keller and illustrator Nicolle Rager Fuller introduce a new generation of readers to the original text. Including sections about his pioneering research, the book's initial public reception, his correspondence with other leading scientists, as well as the most recent breakthroughs in evolutionary theory, this riveting, beautifully rendered adaptation breathes new life into Darwin's seminal and still polarizing work.
On the Origin of Species: The Illustrated Edition
By Charles Darwin

Sterling Signature
Paperback (560 pages)

On the Origin of Species: The Illustrated Edition
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  • Sterling Signature
Product Description:
Now in paperback, this richly illustrated edition of Charles Darwin's paradigm-shattering masterpiece brings Darwin's life and controversial theories into full view. Edited and with an introduction by award-winning science journalist David Quammen, it features more than 300 illustrations, including paintings, personal photographs, botanical and zoological studies, and newspaper engravings. Excerpts from Darwin's other works, especially The Voyage of the Beagle, and facsimile pages from his letters and diaries invite readers to experience Darwin's journey and scientific breakthrough. 



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