Charles Darwin

His Theories of Evolution and Natural Selection

Biography

Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, in Shrewsbury England. Darwin was a renowned geologist and naturalist by the time of his death, and was best known for his work regarding the evolution of humans and animals. However, Darwin originally attended University of Edinburgh Medical School upon urgings by his father to become a medical doctor. Darwin was uninterested in the topic of medicine, and focused more on other studies, mainly the classification of plants. Because of his shirking from medical school, and dislike of medicine, Darwin transferred to Christ's College in Cambridge. It was here that Darwin met the acquaintance of John Stevens Henslow, his botany professor. After completing his degree, Henslow proposed a two year long expedition charting the South American coast aboard the HMS Beagle to Darwin. Darwin accepted, and spent five years at sea collecting various species of animalia, flaura and fauna and keeping copious notes on what he saw. It was through this research that he discovered the process of natural selection and hypothosized his theories of evolution. He eventually shared his research and work in The Origin of Species. Darwin went on to write additional volumes regarding his discoveries and theories, winning numerous awards including the Royal Medal. Darwin died in 1882, leaving behind 8 children.

Other Works by Darwin

Excerpt from "On the Origin of Species"

But the mere existence of individual variability and of some few well-marked varieties, though necessary as the foundation for the work, helps us but little in understanding how species arise in nature. How have all those exquisite adaptations of one part of the organisation to another part, and to the conditions of life, and of one distinct organic being to another being, been perfected? We see these beautiful co-adaptations most plainly in the woodpecker and missletoe; and only a little less plainly in the humblest parasite which clings to the hairs of a quadruped or feathers of a bird; in the structure of the beetle which dives through the water; in the plumed seed which is wafted by the gentlest breeze; in short, we see beautiful adaptations everywhere and in every part of the organic world.