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About Charles Darwin
Darwin published his theory of evolution with compelling evidence in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, overcoming scientific rejection of earlier concepts of transmutation of species. By the 1870s, the scientific community and much of the general public had accepted evolution as a fact. However, many favoured competing explanations and it was not until the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s that a broad consensus developed in which natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution. In modified form, Darwin's scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the diversity of life.
Darwin's early interest in nature led him to neglect his medical education at the University of Edinburgh; instead, he helped to investigate marine invertebrates. Studies at the University of Cambridge (Christ's College) encouraged his passion for natural science. His five-year voyage on HMS Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell's uniformitarian ideas, and publication of his journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author.
Puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage, Darwin began detailed investigations and in 1838 conceived his theory of natural selection. Although he discussed his ideas with several naturalists, he needed time for extensive research and his geological work had priority. He was writing up his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him an essay that described the same idea, prompting immediate joint publication of both of their theories. Darwin's work established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. In 1871 he examined human evolution and sexual selection in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, followed by The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. His research on plants was published in a series of books, and in his final book, he examined earthworms and their effect on soil.
Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history; he was honoured by burial in Westminster Abbey.
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Henry Maull (1829-1914) and John Fox (1832-1907) (Maull & Fox) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
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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
When the HMS Beagle set sail in 1831, the science of biology was not far removed from the Dark Ages. When the ship returned to England nearly five years later, Charles Darwin had the makings of a theory that would revolutionize our understanding of the natural world.
From volcanoes in the Galapagos to the coral reefs of Australia, The Voyage of the Beagle documents the young naturalist’s encounters with some of the earth’s most stunning features. Darwin’s observations of the people, places, and events he experienced make for compelling reading and offer a fascinating window into the intellectual development of his ideas about natural selection.
A brilliant travelogue and a revealing glimpse into the Victorian mindset, The Voyage of the Beagle is an indispensable companion volume to On the Origin of Species.
This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.
With a foreword by Margaret Mead: Darwin examines genetically determined behavior, combining the science of evolution with insights into human psychology.
Published in 1872, thirteen years after On the Origin of Species, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals is devoted to documenting what Darwin believes is the genetically determined aspects of behavior. Together with The Descent of Man (1871), it sketches out Darwin’s main thesis of human origins. Here he traces the animal origins of human characteristics such as pursing of the lips in concentration, tightening of the muscles around the eyes in anger and efforts of memory. Darwin’s thesis is that if the outward signs of behavior and emotions are shown to be universal in man and similar to animals then they must be due to inherited evolutionary adaptation, not culturally acquired characteristics. Several British psychiatrists, in particular James Crichton-Browne, were consultants for the book, which forms Darwin’s main contribution to psychology. Darwin’s collection of detailed observations along with his acute observational abilities and pictures (a landmark in the history of illustrations within the body of the text) corroborate his thesis and form the basis of the book. The foreword by Margaret Mead is of great interest in and of itself. Her foreword, illustrated with pictures provided by her, is designed to subvert Darwin’s chief idea. Paul Ekman, a later editor of this same work, “wonder[s] how Darwin would have felt had he known that his book was introduced by a cultural relativist who had included in his book pictures of those most opposed to his theory.”
Charles Robert Darwin (1809 – 1882) was an English geologist, naturalist, and biologist most famous for his contributions to the science of evolution and his book “On the Origin of Species” (1859).
On the Origin of Species: In one of the most important contributions to scientific knowledge, Charles Darwin puts forth the theory that species evolve over time through the process of natural selection. Drawn from extensive research performed on various creatures living in the Galápagos Islands, his research suggests that “one species does change into another”—a revolutionary notion that has shaped much of modern biology.
The Autobiography of Charles Darwin: Darwin wrote his autobiography as a family document in 1876. When it was originally published posthumously, certain portions were considered too personal or controversial and were removed. This edition restores those passages, shedding light on the women in Darwin’s life and his evolving views on religion. It also includes previously unpublished notes and letters on family matters, as well as Darwin’s dispute with Samuel Butler.
The Voyage of the Beagle: From volcanoes in the Galápagos to the coral reefs of Australia, this travelogue documents the young naturalist’s historic, years-long journey at sea. Darwin’s observations of the people, places, and events he experienced make for compelling reading and offer a fascinating window into the intellectual development of his ideas about natural selection.