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Charles Robert Darwin ( ; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist,
geologist A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid, liquid, and gaseous matter that constitutes Earth and other terrestrial planets, as well as the processes that shape them. Geologists usually study geology, earth science, or geophysics, althoug ...
, and
biologist A biologist is a scientist who conducts research in biology. Biologists are interested in studying life on Earth, whether it is an individual Cell (biology), cell, a multicellular organism, or a Community (ecology), community of Biological inter ...
, widely known for his contributions to
evolutionary biology Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology that studies the evolutionary processes ( natural selection, common descent, speciation) that produced the diversity of life on Earth. It is also defined as the study of the history of life ...
. His proposition that all species of life have descended from a
common ancestor Common descent is a concept in evolutionary biology applicable when one species is the ancestor of two or more species later in time. All living beings are in fact descendants of a unique ancestor commonly referred to as the last universal comm ...
is now generally accepted and considered a fundamental concept in science. In a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace, he introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of
evolution Evolution is change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the expressions of genes, which are passed on from parent to offspring during reproduction. Variation ...
resulted from a process he called
natural selection Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype. It is a key mechanism of evolution, the change in the heritable traits characteristic of a population over generations. Cha ...
, in which the
struggle for existence The concept of the struggle for existence concerns the competition or battle for resources needed to live. It can refer to human society, or to organisms in nature. The concept is ancient, and the term ''struggle for existence'' was in use by the ...
has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in
selective breeding Selective breeding (also called artificial selection) is the process by which humans use animal breeding and plant breeding to selectively develop particular phenotypic traits (characteristics) by choosing which typically animal or plant m ...
. Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in
human history Human history, also called world history, is the narrative of humanity's past. It is understood and studied through anthropology, archaeology, genetics, and linguistics. Since the invention of writing, human history has been studied throug ...
and was honoured by burial in Westminster Abbey. Darwin's early interest in nature led him to neglect his medical education at the
University of Edinburgh The University of Edinburgh ( sco, University o Edinburgh, gd, Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann; abbreviated as ''Edin.'' in post-nominals) is a public research university based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Granted a royal charter by King James VI in 15 ...
; instead, he helped to investigate
marine invertebrates Marine invertebrates are the invertebrates that live in marine habitats. Invertebrate is a blanket term that includes all animals apart from the vertebrate members of the chordate phylum. Invertebrates lack a vertebral column, and some have ev ...
. His studies at the
University of Cambridge , mottoeng = Literal: From here, light and sacred draughts. Non literal: From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowledge. , established = , other_name = The Chancellor, Masters and Schola ...
's Christ's College from 1828 to 1831 encouraged his passion for natural science. His five-year voyage on from 1831 to 1836 established Darwin as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell's concept of gradual geological change. Publication of his journal of the voyage made Darwin 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, devised 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 submission of both their theories to the
Linnean Society of London The Linnean Society of London is a learned society dedicated to the study and dissemination of information concerning natural history, evolution, and taxonomy. It possesses several important biological specimen, manuscript and literature colle ...
. Darwin's work established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. In 1871, he examined
human evolution Human evolution is the evolutionary process within the history of primates that led to the emergence of '' Homo sapiens'' as a distinct species of the hominid family, which includes the great apes. This process involved the gradual development o ...
and
sexual selection Sexual selection is a mode of natural selection in which members of one biological sex choose mates of the other sex to mate with (intersexual selection), and compete with members of the same sex for access to members of the opposite sex ( ...
in '' The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex'', followed by ''
The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals ''The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals'' is Charles Darwin's third major work of evolutionary theory, following ''On the Origin of Species'' (1859) and '' The Descent of Man'' (1871). Initially intended as a chapter in ''The Desce ...
'' (1872). His research on plants was published in a series of books, and in his final book, ''The Formation of Vegetable Mould, through the Actions of Worms'' (1881), he examined
earthworm An earthworm is a terrestrial invertebrate that belongs to the phylum Annelida. They exhibit a tube-within-a-tube body plan; they are externally segmented with corresponding internal segmentation; and they usually have setae on all segments. T ...
s and their effect on soil. Darwin published his theory of evolution with compelling evidence in his 1859 book ''
On the Origin of Species ''On 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''),The book's full original title was ''On the Origin of Species by Me ...
''. By the 1870s, the scientific community and a majority of the educated public had accepted evolution as a fact. However, many favoured competing explanations that gave only a minor role to natural selection, 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. Darwin's scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the
diversity of life Biodiversity or biological diversity is the variety and variability of life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the genetic (''genetic variability''), species (''species diversity''), and ecosystem (''ecosystem diversity'') le ...
.


Biography


Early life and education

Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, on 12 February 1809, at his family's home, The Mount. He was the fifth of six children of wealthy society doctor and financier
Robert Darwin Robert Waring Darwin (30 May 1766 – 13 November 1848) was an English medical doctor, who today is best known as the father of the naturalist Charles Darwin. He was a member of the influential Darwin–Wedgwood family. Biography Darwin was bo ...
and
Susannah Darwin Susannah Darwin (née Wedgwood, 3 January 1765–15 July 1817) was the wife of Robert Darwin, a wealthy doctor, and mother of naturalist Charles Darwin, and part of the Wedgwood pottery family. Life She was the daughter of Josiah and Sarah Wedg ...
(''née'' Wedgwood). His grandfathers Erasmus Darwin and
Josiah Wedgwood Josiah Wedgwood (12 July 1730 – 3 January 1795) was an English potter, entrepreneur and abolitionist. Founding the Wedgwood company in 1759, he developed improved pottery bodies by systematic experimentation, and was the leader in the indus ...
were both prominent
abolitionists Abolitionism, or the abolitionist movement, is the movement to end slavery. In Western Europe and the Americas, abolitionism was a historic movement that sought to end the Atlantic slave trade and liberate the enslaved people. The Britis ...
. Erasmus Darwin had praised general concepts of evolution and common descent in his ''
Zoonomia ''Zoonomia; or the Laws of Organic Life'' (1794-96) is a two-volume medical work by Erasmus Darwin dealing with pathology, anatomy, psychology, and the functioning of the body. Its primary framework is one of associationist psychophysiology. Th ...
'' (1794), a poetic fantasy of gradual creation including undeveloped ideas anticipating concepts his grandson expanded. Both families were largely Unitarian, though the Wedgwoods were adopting Anglicanism. Robert Darwin, himself quietly a
freethinker Freethought (sometimes spelled free thought) is an epistemological viewpoint which holds that beliefs should not be formed on the basis of authority, tradition, revelation, or dogma, and that beliefs should instead be reached by other metho ...
, had baby Charles
baptised Baptism (from grc-x-koine, βάπτισμα, váptisma) is a form of ritual purification—a characteristic of many religions throughout time and geography. In Christianity, it is a Christian sacrament of initiation and adoption, almost inv ...
in November 1809 in the Anglican St Chad's Church, Shrewsbury, but Charles and his siblings attended the Unitarian chapel with their mother. The eight-year-old Charles already had a taste for natural history and collecting when he joined the day school run by its preacher in 1817. That July, his mother died. From September 1818, he joined his older brother
Erasmus Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (; ; English: Erasmus of Rotterdam or Erasmus;''Erasmus'' was his baptismal name, given after St. Erasmus of Formiae. ''Desiderius'' was an adopted additional name, which he used from 1496. The ''Roterodamus'' w ...
in attending the nearby Anglican
Shrewsbury School Shrewsbury School is a public school (English independent boarding school for pupils aged 13 –18) in Shrewsbury. Founded in 1552 by Edward VI by Royal Charter, it was originally a boarding school for boys; girls have been admitted into ...
as a
boarder A boarder may be a person who: *snowboards *skateboards *bodyboards * surfs *stays at a boarding house *attends a boarding school *takes part in a boarding attack The Boarder may also refer to: * ''The Boarder'' (1953 film), a 1953 Soviet drama ...
.
Darwin spent the summer of 1825 as an apprentice doctor, helping his father treat the poor of Shropshire, before going to the well regarded
University of Edinburgh Medical School The University of Edinburgh Medical School (also known as Edinburgh Medical School) is the medical school of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the United Kingdom and part of the University of Edinburgh College of Medicine and Veterinar ...
with his brother Erasmus in October 1825. Darwin found lectures dull and surgery distressing, so he neglected his studies. He learned
taxidermy Taxidermy is the art of preserving an animal's body via mounting (over an armature) or stuffing, for the purpose of display or study. Animals are often, but not always, portrayed in a lifelike state. The word ''taxidermy'' describes the proc ...
in around 40 daily hour-long sessions from John Edmonstone, a freed black slave who had accompanied
Charles Waterton Charles Waterton (3 June 1782 – 27 May 1865) was an English naturalist, plantation overseer and explorer best known for his pioneering work regarding conservation. Family and religion Waterton was of a Roman Catholic landed gentry family de ...
in the South American rainforest.
In Darwin's second year at the university, he joined the
Plinian Society The Plinian Society was a club at the University of Edinburgh for students interested in natural history. It was founded in 1823. Several of its members went on to have prominent careers, most notably Charles Darwin who announced his first scient ...
, a student natural-history group featuring lively debates in which radical democratic students with materialistic views challenged orthodox religious concepts of science. He assisted
Robert Edmond Grant Robert Edmond Grant MD FRCPEd FRS FRSE FZS FGS (11 November 1793 – 23 August 1874) was a British anatomist and zoologist. Life Grant was born at Argyll Square in Edinburgh (demolished to create Chambers Street), the son of Alexander Gra ...
's investigations of the anatomy and life cycle of
marine invertebrates Marine invertebrates are the invertebrates that live in marine habitats. Invertebrate is a blanket term that includes all animals apart from the vertebrate members of the chordate phylum. Invertebrates lack a vertebral column, and some have ev ...
in the Firth of Forth, and on 27 March 1827 presented at the Plinian his own discovery that black spores found in
oyster Oyster is the common name for a number of different families of salt-water bivalve molluscs that live in marine or brackish habitats. In some species, the valves are highly calcified, and many are somewhat irregular in shape. Many, but not ...
shells were the eggs of a skate leech. One day, Grant praised
Lamarck Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, chevalier de Lamarck (1 August 1744 – 18 December 1829), often known simply as Lamarck (; ), was a French naturalist, biologist, academic, and soldier. He was an early proponent of the idea that biolo ...
's evolutionary ideas. Darwin was astonished by Grant's audacity, but had recently read similar ideas in his grandfather Erasmus' journals. Darwin was rather bored by
Robert Jameson Robert Jameson Robert Jameson FRS FRSE (11 July 1774 – 19 April 1854) was a Scottish naturalist and mineralogist. As Regius Professor of Natural History at the University of Edinburgh for fifty years, developing his predecessor John ...
's natural-history course, which covered geology—including the debate between
Neptunism Neptunism is a superseded scientific theory of geology proposed by Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749–1817) in the late 18th century, proposing that rocks formed from the crystallisation of minerals in the early Earth's oceans. The theory took its n ...
and Plutonism. He learned the classification of plants, and assisted with work on the collections of the
University Museum A university museum is a repository of collections run by a university, typically founded to aid teaching and research within the institution of higher learning. The Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford in England is an early example, o ...
, one of the largest museums in Europe at the time. Darwin's neglect of medical studies annoyed his father, who shrewdly sent him to Christ's College, Cambridge in January 1828, to study for a
Bachelor of Arts Bachelor of arts (BA or AB; from the Latin ', ', or ') is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate program in the arts, or, in some cases, other disciplines. A Bachelor of Arts degree course is generally completed in three or four year ...
degree as the first step towards becoming an Anglican country
parson A parson is an ordained Christian person responsible for a small area, typically a parish. The term was formerly often used for some Anglican clergy and, more rarely, for ordained ministers in some other churches. It is no longer a formal term ...
. Darwin was unqualified for Cambridge's ''
Tripos At the University of Cambridge, a Tripos (, plural 'Triposes') is any of the examinations that qualify an undergraduate for a bachelor's degree or the courses taken by a student to prepare for these. For example, an undergraduate studying mathe ...
'' exams, and was required instead to join the ordinary degree course. He preferred riding and
shooting Shooting is the act or process of discharging a projectile from a ranged weapon (such as a gun, bow, crossbow, slingshot, or blowpipe). Even the acts of launching flame, artillery, darts, harpoons, grenades, rockets, and guided missiles ...
to studying. During the first few months of Darwin's enrollment at Christ's College, his second cousin
William Darwin Fox The Reverend William Darwin Fox (23 April 1805 – 8 April 1880) was an English clergyman, naturalist, and a second cousin of Charles Darwin. Early life Fox was born in 1805 and initially raised at Thurleston Grange near Elvaston, Derbys ...
was still studying there. Fox impressed him with his butterfly collection, introducing Darwin to entomology and influencing him to pursue
beetle Beetles are insects that form the order Coleoptera (), in the superorder Endopterygota. Their front pair of wings are hardened into wing-cases, elytra, distinguishing them from most other insects. The Coleoptera, with about 400,000 describ ...
collecting. He did this zealously, and had some of his finds published in
James Francis Stephens James Francis Stephens (16 September 1792 – 22 December 1852) was an English entomologist and naturalist. He is known for his 12 volume '' Illustrations of British Entomology'' (1846) and the ''Manual of British Beetles'' (1839). Early l ...
' ''Illustrations of British entomology'' (1829–32). Through Fox, Darwin became a close friend and follower of botany professor
John Stevens Henslow John Stevens Henslow (6 February 1796 – 16 May 1861) was a British priest, botanist and geologist. He is best remembered as friend and mentor to his pupil Charles Darwin. Early life Henslow was born at Rochester, Kent, the son of a solicit ...
. He met other leading
parson-naturalist A parson-naturalist was a cleric (a "parson", strictly defined as a country priest who held the living of a parish, but the term is generally extended to other clergy), who often saw the study of natural science as an extension of his religious wo ...
s who saw scientific work as religious natural theology, becoming known to these dons as "the man who walks with Henslow". When his own exams drew near, Darwin applied himself to his studies and was delighted by the language and logic of
William Paley William Paley (July 174325 May 1805) was an English clergyman, Christian apologist, philosopher, and utilitarian. He is best known for his natural theology exposition of the teleological argument for the existence of God in his work ''Natu ...
's ''Evidences of Christianity'' (1795).
In his final examination in January 1831 Darwin did well, coming tenth out of 178 candidates for the ''ordinary'' degree. Darwin had to stay at Cambridge until June 1831. He studied Paley's ''
Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity ''Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity'' is an 1802 work of Christian apologetics and philosophy of religion by the English clergyman William Paley (1743–1805). The book expounds his arguments from natural ...
'' (first published in 1802), which made an argument for divine design in nature, explaining
adaptation In biology, adaptation has three related meanings. Firstly, it is the dynamic evolutionary process of natural selection that fits organisms to their environment, enhancing their evolutionary fitness. Secondly, it is a state reached by the po ...
as God acting through laws of nature. He read John Herschel's new book, ''Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy'' (1831), which described the highest aim of
natural philosophy Natural philosophy or philosophy of nature (from Latin ''philosophia naturalis'') is the philosophical study of physics, that is, nature and the physical universe. It was dominant before the development of modern science. From the ancient wo ...
as understanding such laws through inductive reasoning based on observation, and
Alexander von Humboldt Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt (14 September 17696 May 1859) was a German polymath, geographer, naturalist, explorer, and proponent of Romantic philosophy and science. He was the younger brother of the Prussian minister, ...
's ''Personal Narrative'' of scientific travels in 1799–1804. Inspired with "a burning zeal" to contribute, Darwin planned to visit
Tenerife Tenerife (; ; formerly spelled ''Teneriffe'') is the largest and most populous island of the Canary Islands. It is home to 43% of the total population of the archipelago. With a land area of and a population of 978,100 inhabitants as of Janu ...
with some classmates after graduation to study natural history in the
tropics The tropics are the regions of Earth surrounding the Equator. They are defined in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere at S. The tropics are also referr ...
. In preparation, he joined Adam Sedgwick's
geology Geology () is a branch of natural science concerned with Earth and other astronomical objects, the features or rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change over time. Modern geology significantly overlaps all other Ea ...
course, then on 4 August travelled with him to spend a fortnight mapping strata in
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in ...
.


Survey voyage on HMS ''Beagle''

After leaving Sedgwick in Wales, Darwin spent a few days with student friends at
Barmouth Barmouth ( cy, Abermaw (formal); ''Y Bermo'' (colloquial)) is a seaside town and community in the county of Gwynedd, northwestern Wales, lying on the estuary of the Afon Mawddach and Cardigan Bay. Located in the historic county of Merioneths ...
. He returned home on 29 August to find a letter from Henslow proposing him as a suitable (if unfinished) naturalist for a self-funded
supernumerary Supernumerary means "exceeding the usual number". Supernumerary may also refer to: * Supernumerary actor, a performer in a film, television show, or stage production who has no role or purpose other than to appear in the background, more commonl ...
place on with captain
Robert FitzRoy Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy (5 July 1805 – 30 April 1865) was an English officer of the Royal Navy and a scientist. He achieved lasting fame as the captain of during Charles Darwin's famous voyage, FitzRoy's second expedition to Tierra de ...
, a position for a gentleman rather than "a mere collector". The ship was to leave in four weeks on an expedition to chart the coastline of South America. Robert Darwin objected to his son's planned two-year voyage, regarding it as a waste of time, but was persuaded by his brother-in-law,
Josiah Wedgwood II Josiah Wedgwood II (3 April 1769 – 12 July 1843), the son of the English potter Josiah Wedgwood, continued his father's firm and was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Stoke-upon-Trent from 1832 to 1835. He was an abolitionist, and detested slav ...
, to agree to (and fund) his son's participation. Darwin took care to remain in a private capacity to retain control over his collection, intending it for a major scientific institution. After delays, the voyage began on 27 December 1831; it lasted almost five years. As FitzRoy had intended, Darwin spent most of that time on land investigating geology and making natural history collections, while HMS ''Beagle'' surveyed and charted coasts. He kept careful notes of his observations and theoretical speculations, and at intervals during the voyage his specimens were sent to Cambridge together with letters including a copy of his journal for his family. He had some expertise in geology, beetle collecting and dissecting marine invertebrates, but in all other areas was a novice and ably collected specimens for expert appraisal. Despite suffering badly from seasickness, Darwin wrote copious notes while on board the ship. Most of his zoology notes are about marine invertebrates, starting with
plankton Plankton are the diverse collection of organisms found in water (or air) that are unable to propel themselves against a current (or wind). The individual organisms constituting plankton are called plankters. In the ocean, they provide a crucia ...
collected during a calm spell. On their first stop ashore at St Jago in Cape Verde, Darwin found that a white band high in the
volcanic rock Volcanic rock (often shortened to volcanics in scientific contexts) is a rock formed from lava erupted from a volcano. In other words, it differs from other igneous rock by being of volcanic origin. Like all rock types, the concept of volcanic ...
cliffs included seashells. FitzRoy had given him the first volume of Charles Lyell's ''
Principles of Geology ''Principles of Geology: Being an Attempt to Explain the Former Changes of the Earth's Surface, by Reference to Causes Now in Operation'' is a book by the Scottish geologist Charles Lyell that was first published in 3 volumes from 1830–1833. Ly ...
'', which set out
uniformitarian Uniformitarianism, also known as the Doctrine of Uniformity or the Uniformitarian Principle, is the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in our present-day scientific observations have always operated in the universe in ...
concepts of land slowly rising or falling over immense periods, and Darwin saw things Lyell's way, theorising and thinking of writing a book on geology. When they reached
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At and with over 217 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area ...
, Darwin was delighted by the
tropical forest Tropical forests (a.k.a. jungle) are forested landscapes in tropical regions: ''i.e.'' land areas approximately bounded by the tropic of Cancer and Capricorn, but possibly affected by other factors such as prevailing winds. Some tropical fore ...
, but detested the sight of
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave—someone forbidden to quit one's service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as property. Slavery typically involves slaves being made to perf ...
, and disputed this issue with Fitzroy. The survey continued to the south in
Patagonia Patagonia () refers to a geographical region that encompasses the southern end of South America, governed by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes Mountains with lakes, fjords, temperate rainforests, and g ...
. They stopped at Bahía Blanca, and in cliffs near
Punta Alta Punta Alta is a city in Argentina, about 20 kilometers southeast of Bahía Blanca. It has a population of 57,293. It is the capital ("cabecera") of the Coronel Rosales Partido. It was founded on 2 July 1898. The city is located near the Atlant ...
Darwin made a major find of fossil bones of huge extinct mammals beside modern seashells, indicating recent
extinction Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism or of a group of kinds (taxon), usually a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and ...
with no signs of change in climate or catastrophe. He found bony plates like a giant version of the armour on local armadillos. From a jaw and tooth he identified the gigantic ''
Megatherium ''Megatherium'' ( ; from Greek () 'great' + () 'beast') is an extinct genus of ground sloths endemic to South America that lived from the Early Pliocene through the end of the Pleistocene. It is best known for the elephant-sized type species ' ...
'', then from Cuvier's description thought the armour was from this animal. The finds were shipped to England, and scientists found the fossils of great interest. In Patagonia, Darwin came to wrongly believe the territory was devoid of reptiles. On rides with
gaucho A gaucho () or gaúcho () is a skilled horseman, reputed to be brave and unruly. The figure of the gaucho is a folk symbol of Argentina, Uruguay, Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, and the south of Chilean Patagonia. Gauchos became greatly admired and ...
s into the interior to explore geology and collect more fossils, Darwin gained social, political and
anthropological Anthropology is the scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, societies, and linguistics, in both the present and past, including past human species. Social anthropology studies patterns of behav ...
insights into both native and colonial people at a time of revolution, and learnt that two types of rhea had separate but overlapping territories. Further south, he saw stepped plains of shingle and seashells as
raised beach A raised beach, coastal terrace,Pinter, N (2010): 'Coastal Terraces, Sealevel, and Active Tectonics' (educational exercise), from 2/04/2011/ref> or perched coastline is a relatively flat, horizontal or gently inclined surface of marine origin,P ...
es at a series of elevations. He read Lyell's second volume and accepted its view of "centres of creation" of species, but his discoveries and theorising challenged Lyell's ideas of smooth continuity and of extinction of species. Three
Fuegians Fuegians are the indigenous inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego, at the southern tip of South America. In English, the term originally referred to the Yaghan people of Tierra del Fuego. In Spanish, the term ''fueguino'' can refer to any person from ...
on board, who had been seized during the first ''Beagle'' voyage then given Christian education in England, were returning with a missionary. Darwin found them friendly and civilised, yet at
Tierra del Fuego Tierra del Fuego (, ; Spanish for "Land of the Fire", rarely also Fireland in English) is an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. The archipelago consists of the main island, Isla ...
he met "miserable, degraded savages", as different as wild from domesticated animals. He remained convinced that, despite this diversity, all humans were interrelated with a shared origin and potential for improvement towards civilisation. Unlike his scientist friends, he now thought there was no unbridgeable gap between humans and animals. A year on, the mission had been abandoned. The Fuegian they had named
Jemmy Button Orundellico, known as "Jeremy Button" or "Jemmy Button" (c. 1815–1864), was a member of the Yaghan (or Yámana) people from islands around Tierra del Fuego, in modern Chile and Argentina. He was taken to England by Captain FitzRoy in HMS ''B ...
lived like the other natives, had a wife, and had no wish to return to England. Darwin experienced an earthquake in Chile in 1835 and saw signs that the land had just been raised, including mussel-beds stranded above high tide. High in the
Andes The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains (; ) are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America. The range is long, wide (widest between 18°S – 20°S ...
he saw seashells, and several fossil trees that had grown on a sand beach. He theorised that as the land rose,
oceanic islands Oceanic may refer to: *Of or relating to the ocean *Of or relating to Oceania ** Oceanic climate ** Oceanic languages **Oceanic person or people, also called "Pacific Islander(s)" Places * Oceanic, British Columbia, a settlement on Smith Island ...
sank, and
coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of colonies of coral polyps held together by calcium carbonate. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, whose polyps cluster in groups. C ...
s round them grew to form
atoll An atoll () is a ring-shaped island, including a coral rim that encircles a lagoon partially or completely. There may be coral islands or cays on the rim. Atolls are located in warm tropical or subtropical oceans and seas where corals can gr ...
s. On the geologically new
Galápagos Islands The Galápagos Islands (Spanish: , , ) are an archipelago of volcanic islands. They are distributed on each side of the equator in the Pacific Ocean, surrounding the centre of the Western Hemisphere, and are part of the Republic of Ecuador ...
, Darwin looked for evidence attaching wildlife to an older "centre of creation", and found
mockingbird Mockingbirds are a group of New World passerine birds from the family Mimidae. They are best known for the habit of some species mimicking the songs of other birds and the sounds of insects and amphibians, often loudly and in rapid succession. ...
s allied to those in Chile but differing from island to island. He heard that slight variations in the shape of
tortoise Tortoises () are reptiles of the family Testudinidae of the order Testudines (Latin: ''tortoise''). Like other turtles, tortoises have a shell to protect from predation and other threats. The shell in tortoises is generally hard, and like oth ...
shells showed which island they came from, but failed to collect them, even after eating tortoises taken on board as food. In Australia, the
marsupial Marsupials are any members of the mammalian infraclass Marsupialia. All extant marsupials are endemic to Australasia, Wallacea and the Americas. A distinctive characteristic common to most of these species is that the young are carried in a ...
rat-kangaroo Potoroidae is a family of marsupials, small Australian animals known as bettongs, potoroos, and rat-kangaroos. All are rabbit-sized, brown, jumping marsupials and resemble a large rodent or a very small wallaby. Taxonomy The potoroids are sma ...
and the
platypus The platypus (''Ornithorhynchus anatinus''), sometimes referred to as the duck-billed platypus, is a semiaquatic, egg-laying mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. The platypus is the sole living representative or mono ...
seemed so unusual that Darwin thought it was almost as though two distinct Creators had been at work. He found the Aborigines "good-humoured & pleasant", their numbers depleted by European settlement. FitzRoy investigated how the atolls of the
Cocos (Keeling) Islands ) , anthem = "''Advance Australia Fair''" , song_type = , song = , image_map = Australia on the globe (Cocos (Keeling) Islands special) (Southeast Asia centered).svg , map_alt = Location of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands , map_caption = ...
had formed, and the survey supported Darwin's theorising. FitzRoy began writing the official ''Narrative'' of the ''Beagle'' voyages, and after reading Darwin's diary he proposed incorporating it into the account. Darwin's ''Journal'' was eventually rewritten as a separate third volume, on geology and natural history. In
Cape Town Cape Town ( af, Kaapstad; , xh, iKapa) is one of South Africa's three capital cities, serving as the seat of the Parliament of South Africa. It is the legislative capital of the country, the oldest city in the country, and the second largest ...
,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by of coastline that stretch along the Atlantic Ocean, South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the ...
, Darwin and FitzRoy met John Herschel, who had recently written to Lyell praising his
uniformitarianism Uniformitarianism, also known as the Doctrine of Uniformity or the Uniformitarian Principle, is the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in our present-day scientific observations have always operated in the universe in ...
as opening bold speculation on "that mystery of mysteries, the replacement of extinct species by others" as "a natural in contradistinction to a miraculous process". When organising his notes as the ship sailed home, Darwin wrote that, if his growing suspicions about the mockingbirds, the tortoises and the Falkland Islands fox were correct, "such facts undermine the stability of Species", then cautiously added "would" before "undermine".
He later wrote that such facts "seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species". Without telling Darwin, extracts from his letters to Henslow had been read to scientific societies, printed as a pamphlet for private distribution among members of the
Cambridge Philosophical Society The Cambridge Philosophical Society (CPS) is a scientific society at the University of Cambridge. It was founded in 1819. The name derives from the medieval use of the word philosophy to denote any research undertaken outside the fields of la ...
, and reported in magazines, including ''The Athenaeum''. Darwin first heard of this at Cape Town, and at Ascension Island read of Sedgwick's prediction that Darwin "will have a great name among the Naturalists of Europe".


Inception of Darwin's evolutionary theory

On 2 October 1836 ''Beagle'' anchored at Falmouth, Cornwall. Darwin promptly made the long coach journey to Shrewsbury to visit his home and see relatives. He then hurried to
Cambridge Cambridge ( ) is a College town, university city and the county town in Cambridgeshire, England. It is located on the River Cam approximately north of London. As of the 2021 United Kingdom census, the population of Cambridge was 145,700. Cam ...
to see Henslow, who advised him on finding available naturalists to catalogue Darwin's animal collections and to take on the botanical specimens. Darwin's father organised investments, enabling his son to be a self-funded
gentleman scientist An independent scientist (historically also known as gentleman scientist) is a financially independent scientist who pursues scientific study without direct affiliation to a public institution such as a university or government-run research and ...
, and an excited Darwin went round the London institutions being fêted and seeking experts to describe the collections. British zoologists at the time had a huge backlog of work, due to natural history collecting being encouraged throughout the British Empire, and there was a danger of specimens just being left in storage. Charles Lyell eagerly met Darwin for the first time on 29 October and soon introduced him to the up-and-coming anatomist Richard Owen, who had the facilities of the
Royal College of Surgeons The Royal College of Surgeons is an ancient college (a form of corporation) established in England to regulate the activity of surgeons. Derivative organisations survive in many present and former members of the Commonwealth. These organisations a ...
to work on the fossil bones collected by Darwin. Owen's surprising results included other gigantic extinct ground sloths as well as the ''Megatherium'' Darwin had identified, a near complete skeleton of the unknown ''
Scelidotherium ''Scelidotherium'' is an extinct genus of ground sloth of the family Scelidotheriidae, endemic to South America during the Late Pleistocene epoch. It lived from 780,000 to 11,000 years ago, existing for approximately . Description It is chara ...
'' and a
hippopotamus The hippopotamus ( ; : hippopotamuses or hippopotami; ''Hippopotamus amphibius''), also called the hippo, common hippopotamus, or river hippopotamus, is a large semiaquatic mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of only two extan ...
-sized
rodent Rodents (from Latin , 'to gnaw') are mammals of the order Rodentia (), which are characterized by a single pair of continuously growing incisors in each of the upper and lower jaws. About 40% of all mammal species are rodents. They are n ...
-like skull named ''
Toxodon ''Toxodon'' (meaning "bow tooth" in reference to the curvature of the teeth) is an extinct genus of South American mammals from the Late Miocene to early Holocene epochs (Mayoan to Lujanian in the SALMA classification) (about 11.6 million to 1 ...
'' resembling a giant capybara. The armour fragments were actually from ''
Glyptodon ''Glyptodon'' (from Greek for 'grooved or carved tooth': γλυπτός 'sculptured' and ὀδοντ-, ὀδούς 'tooth') is a genus of glyptodont (an extinct group of large, herbivorous armadillos) that lived from the Pleistocene, around 2.5 m ...
'', a huge armadillo-like creature, as Darwin had initially thought. These extinct creatures were related to living species in South America. In mid-December, Darwin took lodgings in Cambridge to arrange expert classification of his collections, and prepare his own research for publication. Questions of how to combine his diary into the ''Narrative'' were resolved at the end of the month when FitzRoy accepted Broderip's advice to make it a separate volume, and Darwin began work on his ''Journal and Remarks''. Darwin's first paper showed that the South American landmass was slowly rising, and with Lyell's enthusiastic backing he read it to the
Geological Society of London The Geological Society of London, known commonly as the Geological Society, is a learned society based in the United Kingdom. It is the oldest national geological society in the world and the largest in Europe with more than 12,000 Fellows. Fe ...
on 4 January 1837. On the same day, he presented his mammal and bird specimens to the Zoological Society. The ornithologist
John Gould John Gould (; 14 September 1804 – 3 February 1881) was an English ornithologist. He published a number of monographs on birds, illustrated by plates produced by his wife, Elizabeth Gould, and several other artists, including Edward Lear, ...
soon announced that the Galapagos birds that Darwin had thought a mixture of blackbirds, " gros-beaks" and
finch The true finches are small to medium-sized passerine birds in the family Fringillidae. Finches have stout conical bills adapted for eating seeds and nuts and often have colourful plumage. They occupy a great range of habitats where they are usua ...
es, were, in fact, twelve separate species of finches. On 17 February, Darwin was elected to the Council of the Geological Society, and Lyell's presidential address presented Owen's findings on Darwin's fossils, stressing geographical continuity of species as supporting his uniformitarian ideas. Early in March, Darwin moved to London to be near this work, joining Lyell's social circle of scientists and experts such as Charles Babbage, who described God as a programmer of laws. Darwin stayed with his
freethinking Freethought (sometimes spelled free thought) is an epistemological viewpoint which holds that beliefs should not be formed on the basis of authority, tradition, revelation, or dogma, and that beliefs should instead be reached by other methods ...
brother Erasmus, part of this Whig circle and a close friend of the writer
Harriet Martineau Harriet Martineau (; 12 June 1802 – 27 June 1876) was an English social theorist often seen as the first female sociologist, focusing on race relations within much of her published material.Michael R. Hill (2002''Harriet Martineau: Theoretic ...
, who promoted the
Malthusianism Malthusianism is the idea that population growth is potentially exponential while the growth of the food supply or other resources is linear, which eventually reduces living standards to the point of triggering a population die off. This event, ...
that underpinned the controversial Whig Poor Law reforms to stop welfare from causing overpopulation and more poverty. As a Unitarian, she welcomed the radical implications of
transmutation of species Transmutation of species and transformism are unproven 18th and 19th-century evolutionary ideas about the change of one species into another that preceded Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection. The French ''Transformisme'' was a term used ...
, promoted by Grant and younger surgeons influenced by Geoffroy. Transmutation was anathema to Anglicans defending social order, but reputable scientists openly discussed the subject and there was wide interest in John Herschel's letter praising Lyell's approach as a way to find a natural cause of the origin of new species. Gould met Darwin and told him that the Galápagos mockingbirds from different islands were separate species, not just varieties, and what Darwin had thought was a " wren" was in the finch group. Darwin had not labelled the finches by island, but from the notes of others on the ship, including FitzRoy, he allocated species to islands. The two rheas were distinct species, and on 14 March Darwin announced how their distribution changed going southwards. By mid-March 1837, barely six months after his return to England, Darwin was speculating in his ''Red Notebook'' on the possibility that "one species does change into another" to explain the geographical distribution of living species such as the rheas, and extinct ones such as the strange extinct mammal ''
Macrauchenia ''Macrauchenia'' ("long llama", based on the now-invalid llama genus, ''Auchenia'', from Greek "big neck") was a large, long-necked and long-limbed, three-toed native South American mammal in the order Litopterna. The genus gives its name to its ...
'', which resembled a giant
guanaco The guanaco (; ''Lama guanicoe'') is a camelid native to South America, closely related to the llama. Guanacos are one of two wild South American camelids, the other being the vicuña, which lives at higher elevations. Etymology The guanaco ...
, a llama relative. Around mid-July, he recorded in his "B" notebook his thoughts on lifespan and variation across generations—explaining the variations he had observed in
Galápagos tortoise The Galápagos tortoise or Galápagos giant tortoise (''Chelonoidis niger'') is a species of very large tortoise in the genus ''Chelonoidis'' (which also contains three smaller species from mainland South America). It comprises 15 subspecies ( ...
s, mockingbirds, and rheas. He sketched branching descent, and then a
genealogical Genealogy () is the study of families, family history, and the tracing of their lineages. Genealogists use oral interviews, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kin ...
branching of a single
evolutionary tree A phylogenetic tree (also phylogeny or evolutionary tree Felsenstein J. (2004). ''Inferring Phylogenies'' Sinauer Associates: Sunderland, MA.) is a branching diagram or a tree showing the evolutionary relationships among various biological spec ...
, in which "It is absurd to talk of one animal being higher than another", thereby discarding Lamarck's idea of independent lineages progressing to higher forms.


Overwork, illness, and marriage

While developing this intensive study of transmutation, Darwin became mired in more work. Still rewriting his ''Journal'', he took on editing and publishing the expert reports on his collections, and with Henslow's help obtained a Treasury grant of £1,000 to sponsor this multi-volume '' Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle'', a sum equivalent to about £115,000 in 2021. He stretched the funding to include his planned books on geology, and agreed to unrealistic dates with the publisher. As the
Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom and the British Empire, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardia ...
began, Darwin pressed on with writing his ''Journal'', and in August 1837 began correcting printer's proofs. As Darwin worked under pressure, his health suffered. On 20 September he had "an uncomfortable palpitation of the heart", so his doctors urged him to "knock off all work" and live in the country for a few weeks. After visiting Shrewsbury he joined his Wedgwood relatives at
Maer Hall file:Maer Hall - geograph.org.uk - 207996.jpg, upright=1.35, Maer Hall Maer Hall is a large Grade II listed 17th-century country house in Maer, Staffordshire. The large stone-built country house and estate of Maer Hall dominates the village of Mae ...
, Staffordshire, but found them too eager for tales of his travels to give him much rest. His charming, intelligent, and cultured cousin
Emma Wedgwood Emma Darwin (; 2 May 1808 – 2 October 1896) was an English woman who was the cousin marriage, wife and first cousin of Charles Darwin. They were married on 29 January 1839 and were the parents of ten children, seven of whom survived to adulth ...
, nine months older than Darwin, was nursing his invalid aunt. His uncle Josiah pointed out an area of ground where cinders had disappeared under loam and suggested that this might have been the work of
earthworm An earthworm is a terrestrial invertebrate that belongs to the phylum Annelida. They exhibit a tube-within-a-tube body plan; they are externally segmented with corresponding internal segmentation; and they usually have setae on all segments. T ...
s, inspiring "a new & important theory" on their role in
soil formation Soil formation, also known as pedogenesis, is the process of soil genesis as regulated by the effects of place, environment, and history. Biogeochemical processes act to both create and destroy order (anisotropy) within soils. These alterations l ...
, which Darwin presented at the Geological Society on 1 November 1837. His ''Journal'' was printed and ready for publication by the end of February 1838, as was the first volume of the ''Narrative'', but FitzRoy was still working hard to finish his own volume.
William Whewell William Whewell ( ; 24 May 17946 March 1866) was an English polymath, scientist, Anglican priest, philosopher, theologian, and historian of science. He was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. In his time as a student there, he achieved ...
pushed Darwin to take on the duties of Secretary of the Geological Society. After initially declining the work, he accepted the post in March 1838. Despite the grind of writing and editing the ''Beagle'' reports, Darwin made remarkable progress on transmutation, taking every opportunity to question expert naturalists and, unconventionally, people with practical experience in
selective breeding Selective breeding (also called artificial selection) is the process by which humans use animal breeding and plant breeding to selectively develop particular phenotypic traits (characteristics) by choosing which typically animal or plant m ...
such as farmers and pigeon fanciers. Over time, his research drew on information from his relatives and children, the family butler, neighbours, colonists and former shipmates. He included mankind in his speculations from the outset, and on seeing an
orangutan Orangutans are great apes native to the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia. They are now found only in parts of Borneo and Sumatra, but during the Pleistocene they ranged throughout Southeast Asia and South China. Classified in the genu ...
in the zoo on 28 March 1838 noted its childlike behaviour. The strain took a toll, by June he was being laid up for days on end with stomach problems, headaches and heart symptoms. For the rest of his life, he was repeatedly incapacitated with episodes of stomach pains, vomiting, severe
boil A boil, also called a furuncle, is a deep folliculitis, which is an infection of the hair follicle. It is most commonly caused by infection by the bacterium '' Staphylococcus aureus'', resulting in a painful swollen area on the skin caused by ...
s, palpitations, trembling and other symptoms, particularly during times of stress, such as attending meetings or making social visits. The cause of Darwin's illness remained unknown, and attempts at treatment had only ephemeral success. On 23 June, he took a break and went "geologising" in Scotland. He visited
Glen Roy Glen Roy ( gd, Gleann Ruaidh, meaning "red glen") in the Lochaber area of the Highlands of Scotland is a glen noted for the geological phenomenon of three loch terraces known as the Parallel Roads of Glen Roy. The terraces formed along the s ...
in glorious weather to see the parallel "roads" cut into the hillsides at three heights. He later published his view that these were marine raised beaches, but then had to accept that they were shorelines of a
proglacial lake In geology, a proglacial lake is a lake formed either by the damming action of a moraine during the retreat of a melting glacier, a glacial ice dam, or by meltwater trapped against an ice sheet due to isostatic depression of the crust around th ...
. Fully recuperated, he returned to Shrewsbury in July. Used to jotting down daily notes on animal breeding, he scrawled rambling thoughts about marriage, career and prospects on two scraps of paper, one with columns headed ''"Marry"'' and ''"Not Marry"''. Advantages under "Marry" included "constant companion and a friend in old age ... better than a dog anyhow", against points such as "less money for books" and "terrible loss of time". Having decided in favour of marriage, he discussed it with his father, then went to visit his cousin Emma on 29 July. He did not get around to proposing, but against his father's advice he mentioned his ideas on transmutation.


Malthus and natural selection

Continuing his research in London, Darwin's wide reading now included the sixth edition of Malthus's '' An Essay on the Principle of Population''. On 28 September 1838 he noted its assertion that human "population, when unchecked, goes on doubling itself every twenty five years, or increases in a geometrical ratio", a
geometric progression In mathematics, a geometric progression, also known as a geometric sequence, is a sequence of non-zero numbers where each term after the first is found by multiplying the previous one by a fixed, non-zero number called the ''common ratio''. For ex ...
so that population soon exceeds food supply in what is known as a
Malthusian catastrophe Malthusianism is the idea that population growth is potentially exponential while the growth of the food supply or other resources is linear, which eventually reduces living standards to the point of triggering a population die off. This event, c ...
. Darwin was well prepared to compare this to
Augustin de Candolle Augustin Pyramus (or Pyrame) de Candolle (, , ; 4 February 17789 September 1841) was a Swiss botanist. René Louiche Desfontaines launched de Candolle's botanical career by recommending him at a herbarium. Within a couple of years de Candolle ...
's "warring of the species" of plants and the struggle for existence among wildlife, explaining how numbers of a species kept roughly stable. As species always breed beyond available resources, favourable variations would make organisms better at surviving and passing the variations on to their offspring, while unfavourable variations would be lost. He wrote that the "final cause of all this wedging, must be to sort out proper structure, & adapt it to changes", so that "One may say there is a force like a hundred thousand wedges trying force into every kind of adapted structure into the gaps of in the economy of nature, or rather forming gaps by thrusting out weaker ones." This would result in the formation of new species. As he later wrote in his '' Autobiography'': By mid-December, Darwin saw a similarity between farmers picking the best stock in selective breeding, and a Malthusian Nature selecting from chance variants so that "every part of newly acquired structure is fully practical and perfected", thinking this comparison "a beautiful part of my theory". He later called his theory
natural selection Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype. It is a key mechanism of evolution, the change in the heritable traits characteristic of a population over generations. Cha ...
, an analogy with what he termed the "artificial selection" of selective breeding. On 11 November, he returned to Maer and proposed to Emma, once more telling her his ideas. She accepted, then in exchanges of loving letters she showed how she valued his openness in sharing their differences, while expressing her strong Unitarian beliefs and concerns that his honest doubts might separate them in the afterlife. While he was house-hunting in London, bouts of illness continued and Emma wrote urging him to get some rest, almost prophetically remarking "So don't be ill any more my dear Charley till I can be with you to nurse you." He found what they called "Macaw Cottage" (because of its gaudy interiors) in Gower Street, then moved his "museum" in over Christmas. On 24 January 1839, Darwin was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS). On 29 January, Darwin and Emma Wedgwood were married at Maer in an Anglican ceremony arranged to suit the Unitarians, then immediately caught the train to London and their new home.


Geology books, barnacles, evolutionary research

Darwin now had the framework of his theory of natural selection "by which to work", as his "prime hobby". His research included extensive experimental selective breeding of plants and animals, finding evidence that species were not fixed and investigating many detailed ideas to refine and substantiate his theory. For fifteen years this work was in the background to his main occupation of writing on geology and publishing expert reports on the ''Beagle'' collections, in particular, the barnacles. FitzRoy's long delayed ''Narrative'' was published in May 1839. Darwin's ''Journal and Remarks'' got good reviews as the third volume, and on 15 August it was published on its own. Early in 1842, Darwin wrote about his ideas to Charles Lyell, who noted that his ally "denies seeing a beginning to each crop of species". Darwin's book ''
The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs ''The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs, Being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836'', was published in 1842 as Charles Darwin's first monogr ...
'' on his theory of atoll formation was published in May 1842 after more than three years of work, and he then wrote his first "pencil sketch" of his theory of natural selection. To escape the pressures of London, the family moved to rural Down House in
Kent Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west, and Essex to the north across the estuary of the River Thames; it faces ...
in September. On 11 January 1844, Darwin mentioned his theorising to the botanist
Joseph Dalton Hooker Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (30 June 1817 – 10 December 1911) was a British botanist and explorer in the 19th century. He was a founder of geographical botany and Charles Darwin's closest friend. For twenty years he served as director of ...
, writing with melodramatic humour "it is like confessing a murder". Hooker replied "There may in my opinion have been a series of productions on different spots, & also a gradual change of species. I shall be delighted to hear how you think that this change may have taken place, as no presently conceived opinions satisfy me on the subject." By July, Darwin had expanded his "sketch" into a 230-page "Essay", to be expanded with his research results if he died prematurely. In November, the anonymously published sensational best-seller ''
Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation ''Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation'' is an 1844 work of speculative natural history and philosophy by Robert Chambers. Published anonymously in England, it brought together various ideas of stellar evolution with the progressive tr ...
'' brought wide interest in transmutation. Darwin scorned its amateurish geology and zoology, but carefully reviewed his own arguments. Controversy erupted, and it continued to sell well despite contemptuous dismissal by scientists. Darwin completed his third geological book in 1846. He now renewed a fascination and expertise in marine invertebrates, dating back to his student days with Grant, by dissecting and classifying the barnacles he had collected on the voyage, enjoying observing beautiful structures and thinking about comparisons with allied structures. In 1847, Hooker read the "Essay" and sent notes that provided Darwin with the calm critical feedback that he needed, but would not commit himself and questioned Darwin's opposition to continuing acts of
creation Creation may refer to: Religion *''Creatio ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Creation myth, a religious story of the origin of the world and how people first came to inhabit it * Creationism, the belief tha ...
. In an attempt to improve his chronic ill health, Darwin went in 1849 to Dr. James Gully's
Malvern Malvern or Malverne may refer to: Places Australia * Malvern, South Australia, a suburb of Adelaide * Malvern, Victoria, a suburb of Melbourne * City of Malvern, a former local government area near Melbourne * Electoral district of Malvern, an e ...
spa and was surprised to find some benefit from
hydrotherapy Hydrotherapy, formerly called hydropathy and also called water cure, is a branch of alternative medicine (particularly naturopathy), occupational therapy, and physiotherapy, that involves the use of water for pain relief and treatment. The term ...
. Then, in 1851, his treasured daughter
Annie Annie may refer to: People and fictional characters * Annie (given name), a given name and a list of people and fictional characters with the name * Annie (actress) (born 1975), Indian actress * Annie (singer) (born 1977), Norwegian singer The ...
fell ill, reawakening his fears that his illness might be hereditary, and after a long series of crises she died. In eight years of work on barnacles, Darwin's theory helped him to find " homologies" showing that slightly changed body parts served different functions to meet new conditions, and in some genera he found minute males
parasitic Parasitism is a close relationship between species, where one organism, the parasite, lives on or inside another organism, the host, causing it some harm, and is adapted structurally to this way of life. The entomologist E. O. Wilson ha ...
on hermaphrodites, showing an intermediate stage in evolution of distinct sexes. In 1853, it earned him the
Royal Society The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society and the United Kingdom's national academy of sciences. The society fulfils a number of roles: promoting science and its benefits, re ...
's Royal Medal, and it made his reputation as a
biologist A biologist is a scientist who conducts research in biology. Biologists are interested in studying life on Earth, whether it is an individual Cell (biology), cell, a multicellular organism, or a Community (ecology), community of Biological inter ...
. In 1854 he became a Fellow of the
Linnean Society of London The Linnean Society of London is a learned society dedicated to the study and dissemination of information concerning natural history, evolution, and taxonomy. It possesses several important biological specimen, manuscript and literature colle ...
, gaining postal access to its library. He began a major reassessment of his theory of species, and in November realised that divergence in the character of descendants could be explained by them becoming adapted to "diversified places in the economy of nature".


Publication of the theory of natural selection

By the start of 1856, Darwin was investigating whether eggs and
seed A seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering, along with a food reserve. The formation of the seed is a part of the process of reproduction in seed plants, the spermatophytes, including the gymnosperm and angiospe ...
s could survive travel across seawater to spread species across oceans. Hooker increasingly doubted the traditional view that species were fixed, but their young friend
Thomas Henry Huxley Thomas Henry Huxley (4 May 1825 – 29 June 1895) was an English biologist and anthropologist specialising in comparative anatomy. He has become known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. The stori ...
was still firmly against the transmutation of species. Lyell was intrigued by Darwin's speculations without realising their extent. When he read a paper by Alfred Russel Wallace, "On the Law which has Regulated the Introduction of New Species", he saw similarities with Darwin's thoughts and urged him to publish to establish precedence.
Though Darwin saw no threat, on 14 May 1856 he began writing a short paper. Finding answers to difficult questions held him up repeatedly, and he expanded his plans to a "big book on species" titled ''
Natural Selection Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype. It is a key mechanism of evolution, the change in the heritable traits characteristic of a population over generations. Cha ...
'', which was to include his "note on Man". He continued his researches, obtaining information and specimens from naturalists worldwide including Wallace who was working in
Borneo Borneo (; id, Kalimantan) is the third-largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. At the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java, west of Sulawesi, and ea ...
. In mid-1857 he added a section heading; "Theory applied to Races of Man", but did not add text on this topic. On 5 September 1857, Darwin sent the American botanist
Asa Gray Asa Gray (November 18, 1810 – January 30, 1888) is considered the most important American botanist of the 19th century. His ''Darwiniana'' was considered an important explanation of how religion and science were not necessarily mutually excl ...
a detailed outline of his ideas, including an abstract of ''Natural Selection'', which omitted human origins and
sexual selection Sexual selection is a mode of natural selection in which members of one biological sex choose mates of the other sex to mate with (intersexual selection), and compete with members of the same sex for access to members of the opposite sex ( ...
. In December, Darwin received a letter from Wallace asking if the book would examine human origins. He responded that he would avoid that subject, "so surrounded with prejudices", while encouraging Wallace's theorising and adding that "I go much further than you." Darwin's book was only partly written when, on 18 June 1858, he received a paper from Wallace describing natural selection. Shocked that he had been "forestalled", Darwin sent it on that day to Lyell, as requested by Wallace, and although Wallace had not asked for publication, Darwin suggested he would send it to any journal that Wallace chose. His family was in crisis with children in the village dying of scarlet fever, and he put matters in the hands of his friends. After some discussion, with no reliable way of involving Wallace, Lyell and Hooker decided on a joint presentation at the Linnean Society on 1 July of ''
On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection "On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection" is the title of a journal article, comprising and resulting from the joint presentation of two scientific papers to the ...
''. On the evening of 28 June, Darwin's baby son died of scarlet fever after almost a week of severe illness, and he was too distraught to attend. There was little immediate attention to this announcement of the theory; the president of the Linnean Society remarked in May 1859 that the year had not been marked by any revolutionary discoveries. Only one review rankled enough for Darwin to recall it later; Professor
Samuel Haughton Samuel Haughton (21 December 1821 – 31 October 1897) was an Irish clergyman, medical doctor, and scientific writer. Biography The scientist Samuel Haughton was born in Carlow, the son of another Samuel Haughton (1786-1874) and grandson (by h ...
of Dublin claimed that "all that was new in them was false, and what was true was old". Darwin struggled for thirteen months to produce an abstract of his "big book", suffering from ill health but getting constant encouragement from his scientific friends. Lyell arranged to have it published by John Murray. ''
On the Origin of Species ''On 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''),The book's full original title was ''On the Origin of Species by Me ...
'' proved unexpectedly popular, with the entire stock of 1,250 copies oversubscribed when it went on sale to booksellers on 22 November 1859. In the book, Darwin set out "one long argument" of detailed observations, inferences and consideration of anticipated objections. In making the case for common descent, he included evidence of homologies between humans and other mammals. Having outlined sexual selection, he hinted that it could explain differences between
human races A race is a categorization of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into groups generally viewed as distinct within a given society. The term came into common usage during the 1500s, when it was used to refer to groups of variou ...
.

He avoided explicit discussion of human origins, but implied the significance of his work with the sentence; "Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history."

His theory is simply stated in the introduction: At the end of the book he concluded that: The last word was the only variant of "evolved" in the first five editions of the book. "
Evolutionism Evolutionism is a term used (often derogatorily) to denote the theory of evolution. Its exact meaning has changed over time as the study of evolution has progressed. In the 19th century, it was used to describe the belief that organisms deliberate ...
" at that time was associated with other concepts, most commonly with
embryological development Prenatal development () includes the development of the embryo and of the fetus during a viviparous animal's gestation. Prenatal development starts with fertilization, in the germinal stage of embryonic development, and continues in fetal deve ...
. Darwin first used the word
evolution Evolution is change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the expressions of genes, which are passed on from parent to offspring during reproduction. Variation ...
in ''
The Descent of Man ''The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex'' is a book by English naturalist Charles Darwin, first published in 1871, which applies evolutionary theory to human evolution, and details his theory of sexual selection, a form of biol ...
'' in 1871, before adding it in 1872 to the 6th edition of ''The Origin of Species''.


Responses to publication

The book aroused international interest, with less controversy than had greeted the popular and less scientific ''Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation''. Though Darwin's illness kept him away from the public debates, he eagerly scrutinised the scientific response, commenting on press cuttings, reviews, articles, satires and caricatures, and corresponded on it with colleagues worldwide. The book did not explicitly discuss human origins, but included a number of hints about the animal ancestry of humans from which the inference could be made. The first review asked, "If a monkey has become a man–what may not a man become?" It said this should be left to theologians as being too dangerous for ordinary readers. Amongst early favourable responses, Huxley's reviews swiped at Richard Owen, leader of the scientific establishment which Huxley was trying to overthrow. In April, Owen's review attacked Darwin's friends and condescendingly dismissed his ideas, angering Darwin, but Owen and others began to promote ideas of supernaturally guided evolution.
Patrick Matthew Patrick Matthew (20 October 1790 – 8 June 1874) was a Scottish grain merchant, fruit farmer, forester, and landowner, who contributed to the understanding of horticulture, silviculture, and agriculture in general, with a focus on maintaining t ...
drew attention to his 1831 book which had a brief appendix suggesting a concept of natural selection leading to new species, but he had not developed the idea. The
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the established Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain ...
's response was mixed. Darwin's old Cambridge tutors Sedgwick and Henslow dismissed the ideas, but liberal clergymen interpreted natural selection as an instrument of God's design, with the cleric Charles Kingsley seeing it as "just as noble a conception of Deity". In 1860, the publication of ''
Essays and Reviews ''Essays and Reviews'', edited by John William Parker, published in March 1860, is a broad-church volume of seven essays on Christianity. The topics covered the biblical research of the German critics, the evidence for Christianity, religious tho ...
'' by seven liberal Anglican theologians diverted
clerical Clerical may refer to: * Pertaining to the clergy * Pertaining to a clerical worker * Clerical script, a style of Chinese calligraphy * Clerical People's Party See also * Cleric (disambiguation) Cleric is a member of the clergy. Cleric may a ...
attention from Darwin. Its ideas, including higher criticism, were attacked by church authorities as
heresy Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. The term is usually used in reference to violations of important religi ...
. In it, Baden Powell argued that
miracle A miracle is an event that is inexplicable by natural or scientific lawsOne dictionary define"Miracle"as: "A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divi ...
s broke God's laws, so belief in them was
atheistic Atheism, in the broadest sense, is an absence of belief in the existence of deities. Less broadly, atheism is a rejection of the belief that any deities exist. In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there no d ...
, and praised "Mr Darwin's masterly volume [supporting] the grand principle of the self-evolving powers of nature". Asa Gray discussed
teleology Teleology (from and )Partridge, Eric. 1977''Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English'' London: Routledge, p. 4187. or finalityDubray, Charles. 2020 912Teleology" In ''The Catholic Encyclopedia'' 14. New York: Robert Appleton ...
with Darwin, who imported and distributed Gray's pamphlet on
theistic evolution Theistic evolution (also known as theistic evolutionism or God-guided evolution) is a theological view that God creates through laws of nature. Its religious teachings are fully compatible with the findings of modern science, including biological ...
, ''Natural Selection is not inconsistent with natural theology''. The most famous confrontation was at the public 1860 Oxford evolution debate during a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, where the
Bishop of Oxford The Bishop of Oxford is the diocesan bishop of the Church of England Diocese of Oxford in the Province of Canterbury; his seat is at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. The current bishop is Steven Croft, following the confirmation of his elect ...
Samuel Wilberforce Samuel Wilberforce, FRS (7 September 1805 – 19 July 1873) was an English bishop in the Church of England, and the third son of William Wilberforce. Known as "Soapy Sam", Wilberforce was one of the greatest public speakers of his day. Natural ...
, though not opposed to transmutation of species, argued against Darwin's explanation and human descent from apes. Joseph Hooker argued strongly for Darwin, and Thomas Huxley's legendary retort, that he would rather be descended from an ape than a man who misused his gifts, came to symbolise a triumph of science over religion. Even Darwin's close friends Gray, Hooker, Huxley and Lyell still expressed various reservations but gave strong support, as did many others, particularly younger naturalists. Gray and Lyell sought reconciliation with faith, while Huxley portrayed a polarisation between religion and science. He campaigned pugnaciously against the authority of the clergy in education, aiming to overturn the dominance of clergymen and aristocratic amateurs under Owen in favour of a new generation of professional scientists. Owen's claim that brain anatomy proved humans to be a separate biological order from apes was shown to be false by Huxley in a long running dispute parodied by Kingsley as the "
Great Hippocampus Question The Great Hippocampus Question was a 19th-century scientific controversy about the anatomy of ape and human uniqueness. The dispute between Thomas Henry Huxley and Richard Owen became central to the scientific debate on human evolution that follow ...
", and discredited Owen. In response to objections that the
origin of life In biology, abiogenesis (from a- 'not' + Greek bios 'life' + genesis 'origin') or the origin of life is the natural process by which life has arisen from non-living matter, such as simple organic compounds. The prevailing scientific hypothes ...
was unexplained, Darwin pointed to acceptance of Newton's law even though the cause of gravity was unknown. Darwinism became a movement covering a wide range of evolutionary ideas. In 1863 Lyell's ''
Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man ''Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man'' is a book written by British geologist, Charles Lyell in 1863. The first three editions appeared in February, April, and November 1863, respectively. A much-revised fourth edition appeared in 1 ...
'' popularised prehistory, though his caution on evolution disappointed Darwin. Weeks later Huxley's ''
Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature ''Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature'' is an 1863 book by Thomas Henry Huxley, in which he gives evidence for the evolution of humans and apes from a common ancestor. It was the first book devoted to the topic of human evolution, and discusse ...
'' showed that anatomically, humans are apes, then ''
The Naturalist on the River Amazons ''The Naturalist on the River Amazons'', subtitled ''A Record of the Adventures, Habits of Animals, Sketches of Brazilian and Indian Life, and Aspects of Nature under the Equator, during Eleven Years of Travel'', is an 1863 book by the Britis ...
'' by
Henry Walter Bates Henry Walter Bates (8 February 1825, in Leicester – 16 February 1892, in London) was an English naturalist and explorer who gave the first scientific account of mimicry in animals. He was most famous for his expedition to the rainforests of ...
provided empirical evidence of natural selection. Lobbying brought Darwin Britain's highest scientific honour, the Royal Society's Copley Medal, awarded on 3 November 1864. That day, Huxley held the first meeting of what became the influential "
X Club The X Club was a dining club of nine men who supported the theories of natural selection and academic liberalism in late 19th-century England. Thomas Henry Huxley was the initiator; he called the first meeting for 3 November 1864. The club m ...
" devoted to "science, pure and free, untrammelled by religious dogmas". By the end of the decade most scientists agreed that evolution occurred, but only a minority supported Darwin's view that the chief mechanism was natural selection. The ''Origin of Species'' was translated into many languages, becoming a staple scientific text attracting thoughtful attention from all walks of life, including the "working men" who flocked to Huxley's lectures. Darwin's theory resonated with various movements at the time and became a key fixture of popular culture. Cartoonists parodied animal ancestry in an old tradition of showing humans with animal traits, and in Britain these droll images served to popularise Darwin's theory in an unthreatening way. While ill in 1862 Darwin began growing a beard, and when he reappeared in public in 1866 caricatures of him as an
ape Apes (collectively Hominoidea ) are a clade of Old World simians native to sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia (though they were more widespread in Africa, most of Asia, and as well as Europe in prehistory), which together with its sister g ...
helped to identify all forms of evolutionism with Darwinism.


''Descent of Man'', sexual selection, and botany

Despite repeated bouts of illness during the last twenty-two years of his life, Darwin's work continued. Having published ''On the Origin of Species'' as an abstract of his theory, he pressed on with experiments, research, and writing of his "big book". He covered human descent from earlier animals including evolution of society and of mental abilities, as well as explaining decorative beauty in
wildlife Wildlife refers to undomesticated animal species, but has come to include all organisms that grow or live wild in an area without being introduced by humans. Wildlife was also synonymous to game: those birds and mammals that were hunted ...
and diversifying into innovative plant studies. Enquiries about insect
pollination Pollination is the transfer of pollen from an anther of a plant to the stigma of a plant, later enabling fertilisation and the production of seeds, most often by an animal or by wind. Pollinating agents can be animals such as insects, birds, a ...
led in 1861 to novel studies of wild
orchid Orchids are plants that belong to the family Orchidaceae (), a diverse and widespread group of flowering plants with blooms that are often colourful and fragrant. Along with the Asteraceae, they are one of the two largest families of flowerin ...
s, showing adaptation of their flowers to attract specific moths to each species and ensure cross fertilisation. In 1862 ''
Fertilisation of Orchids ''Fertilisation of Orchids'' is a book by English naturalist Charles Darwin published on 15 May 1862 under the full explanatory title ''On the Various Contrivances by Which British and Foreign Orchids Are Fertilised by Insects, and On the Good ...
'' gave his first detailed demonstration of the power of natural selection to explain complex ecological relationships, making testable predictions. As his health declined, he lay on his sickbed in a room filled with inventive experiments to trace the movements of
climbing plants A vine (Latin ''vīnea'' "grapevine", "vineyard", from ''vīnum'' "wine") is any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent (that is, climbing) stems, lianas or runners. The word ''vine'' can also refer to such stems or runners themselv ...
. Admiring visitors included Ernst Haeckel, a zealous proponent of ''Darwinismus'' incorporating Lamarckism and
Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, and critic. His works include plays, poetry, literature, and aesthetic criticism, as well as tr ...
's idealism. Wallace remained supportive, though he increasingly turned to
Spiritualism Spiritualism is the metaphysical school of thought opposing physicalism and also is the category of all spiritual beliefs/views (in monism and Mind-body dualism, dualism) from ancient to modern. In the long nineteenth century, Spiritualism (w ...
. Darwin's book ''
The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication ''The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication'' is a book by Charles Darwin that was first published in January 1868. A large proportion of the book contains detailed information on the domestication of animals and plants but it al ...
'' (1868) was the first part of his planned "big book", and included his unsuccessful hypothesis of
pangenesis Pangenesis was Charles Darwin's hypothetical mechanism for heredity, in which he proposed that each part of the body continually emitted its own type of small organic particles called gemmules that aggregated in the gonads, contributing herita ...
attempting to explain heredity. It sold briskly at first, despite its size, and was translated into many languages. He wrote most of a second part, on natural selection, but it remained unpublished in his lifetime. Lyell had already popularised human prehistory, and Huxley had shown that anatomically humans are apes. With ''The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex'' published in 1871, Darwin set out evidence from numerous sources that humans are animals, showing continuity of physical and mental attributes, and presented sexual selection to explain impractical animal features such as the
peacock Peafowl is a common name for three bird species in the genera '' Pavo'' and '' Afropavo'' within the tribe Pavonini of the family Phasianidae, the pheasants and their allies. Male peafowl are referred to as peacocks, and female peafowl are r ...
's plumage as well as human evolution of culture, differences between sexes, and physical and cultural racial classification, while emphasising that humans are all one species. His research using images was expanded in his 1872 book ''
The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals ''The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals'' is Charles Darwin's third major work of evolutionary theory, following ''On the Origin of Species'' (1859) and '' The Descent of Man'' (1871). Initially intended as a chapter in ''The Desce ...
'', one of the first books to feature printed photographs, which discussed the evolution of human psychology and its continuity with the behaviour of animals. Both books proved very popular, and Darwin was impressed by the general assent with which his views had been received, remarking that "everybody is talking about it without being shocked." His conclusion was "that man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system—with all these exalted powers—Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." His evolution-related experiments and investigations led to books on '' Insectivorous Plants,
The Effects of Cross and Self Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom ''The Effects of Cross and Self Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom'' is a book on evolution in plants by Charles Darwin, first published in 1876. In this book Darwin examines the effects of cross and self fertilisation of plants and provides e ...
'', different forms of flowers on plants of the same species, and ''
The Power of Movement in Plants ''The Power of Movement in Plants'' is a book by Charles Darwin on phototropism and other types of movement in plants. This book continues his work in producing evidence for his theory of natural selection. As it was one of his last books, fol ...
''. He continued to collect information and exchange views from scientific correspondents all over the world, including
Mary Treat Mary Adelia Davis Treat (7 September 1830 in Trumansburg, New York – 11 April 1923 in Pembroke, New York) was a naturalist and correspondent with Charles Darwin. Treat's contributions to both botany and entomology were extensive—six speci ...
, whom he encouraged to persevere in her scientific work. He was the first person to recognize the significance of carnivory in plants. His botanical work was interpreted and popularised by various writers including
Grant Allen Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen (February 24, 1848 – October 25, 1899) was a Canadian science writer and novelist, educated in England. He was a public promoter of evolution in the second half of the nineteenth century. Biography Early life a ...
and
H. G. Wells Herbert George Wells"Wells, H. G."
Revised 18 May 2015. ''


Death and funeral

In 1882 he was diagnosed with what was called "
angina pectoris Angina, also known as angina pectoris, is chest pain or pressure, usually caused by insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle (myocardium). It is most commonly a symptom of coronary artery disease. Angina is typically the result of obstru ...
" which then meant
coronary thrombosis Coronary thrombosis is defined as the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel of the heart. This blood clot may then restrict blood flow within the heart, leading to heart tissue damage, or a myocardial infarction, also known as a heart at ...
and disease of the heart. At the time of his death, the physicians diagnosed "anginal attacks", and "heart-failure"; there has since been scholarly speculation about his life-long health issues. He died at Down House on 19 April 1882. His last words were to his family, telling Emma "I am not the least afraid of death—Remember what a good wife you have been to me—Tell all my children to remember how good they have been to me". While she rested, he repeatedly told Henrietta and Francis "It's almost worth while to be sick to be nursed by you". He had expected to be buried in St Mary's churchyard at
Downe Downe, formerly Down, () is a village in Greater London, England, located within the London Borough of Bromley but beyond the London urban sprawl. Downe is south west of Orpington and south east of Charing Cross. Downe lies on a hill, and ...
, but at the request of Darwin's colleagues, after public and parliamentary petitioning,
William Spottiswoode William H. Spottiswoode HFRSE LLD (11 January 1825 – 27 June 1883) was an English mathematician, physicist and partner in the printing and publishing firm Eyre & Spottiswoode. He was president of the Royal Society from 1878 to 1883. Biogra ...
(President of the Royal Society) arranged for Darwin to be honoured by burial in Westminster Abbey, close to John Herschel and
Isaac Newton Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27) was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, alchemist, theologian, and author (described in his time as a " natural philosopher"), widely recognised as one of the grea ...
. The funeral, held on Wednesday 26 April, was attended by thousands of people, including family, friends, scientists, philosophers and dignitaries.


Legacy

As Alfred Russel Wallace put it, Darwin had "wrought a greater revolution in human thought within a quarter of a century than any man of our time – or perhaps any time", having "given us a new conception of the world of life, and a theory which is itself a powerful instrument of research; has shown us how to combine into one consistent whole the facts accumulated by all the separate classes of workers, and has thereby revolutionised the whole study of nature". Most scientists were now convinced of evolution as descent with modification, though few agreed with Darwin that natural selection "has been the main but not the exclusive means of modification".
During "
the eclipse of Darwinism Julian Huxley used the phrase "the eclipse of Darwinism" to describe the state of affairs prior to what he called the "modern synthesis". During the "eclipse", evolution was widely accepted in scientific circles but relatively few biologists be ...
" scientists explored alternative mechanisms. Then
Ronald Fisher Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher (17 February 1890 – 29 July 1962) was a British polymath who was active as a mathematician, statistician, biologist, geneticist, and academic. For his work in statistics, he has been described as "a genius who ...
incorporated
Mendelian genetics Mendelian inheritance (also known as Mendelism) is a type of biological inheritance following the principles originally proposed by Gregor Mendel in 1865 and 1866, re-discovered in 1900 by Hugo de Vries and Carl Correns, and later populari ...
in ''
The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection ''The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection'' is a book by Ronald Fisher which combines Mendelian genetics with Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection, with Fisher being the first to argue that "Mendelism therefore validates Darwinism" and ...
'', leading to
population genetics Population genetics is a subfield of genetics that deals with genetic differences within and between populations, and is a part of evolutionary biology. Studies in this branch of biology examine such phenomena as Adaptation (biology), adaptation, ...
and the modern evolutionary synthesis, which continues to develop. Scientific discoveries have confirmed and validated Darwin's key insights.


Commemoration

Geographical features given his name include
Darwin Sound The Darwin Sound is an expanse of seawater which forms a westward continuation of the Beagle Channel and links it to the Pacific Ocean at Londonderry Island and Stewart Island, not far from the southern tip of South America. It thus forms a naviga ...
and Mount Darwin, both named while he was on the ''Beagle'' voyage, and
Darwin Harbour Darwin Harbour is the body of water close to Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia. It opens to the north at a line from Charles Point in the west to Lee Point in the east into the Beagle Gulf and connects via the Clarence Strait wi ...
, named by his former shipmates on its next voyage, which eventually became the location of Darwin, the capital city of Australia's
Northern Territory The Northern Territory (commonly abbreviated as NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia. The Northern Territory shares its borders with Western Aust ...
. Darwin's name was given, formally or informally, to numerous plants and animals, including many he had collected on the voyage. Some names were given later, for example,
tanager The tanagers (singular ) comprise the bird family Thraupidae, in the order Passeriformes. The family has a Neotropical distribution and is the second-largest family of birds. It represents about 4% of all avian species and 12% of the Neotropica ...
s found in the Galápagos Islands became popularly known as "Darwin's finches" in 1947. In 1883 Sir
Joseph Boehm Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, 1st Baronet, (6 July 1834 – 12 December 1890) was an Austrian-born British medallist and sculptor, best known for the " Jubilee head" of Queen Victoria on coinage, and the statue of the Duke of Wellington at Hyde Par ...
sculpted a white marble life-size seated statue of Darwin. It was installed at the top of the main staircase in the Central Hall of the
Natural History Museum A natural history museum or museum of natural history is a scientific institution with natural history collections that include current and historical records of animals, plants, fungi, ecosystems, geology, paleontology, climatology, and more. ...
in London, and unveiled on 9 June 1885 by
Thomas Huxley Thomas Henry Huxley (4 May 1825 – 29 June 1895) was an English biologist and anthropologist specialising in comparative anatomy. He has become known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. The stor ...
in the presence of Edward, Prince of Wales, Bartholomew Sulivan, and
Joseph Parslow Joseph Parslow (22 March 1812 – 4 October 1898) was an English manservant, who worked as butler for the English naturalist Charles Darwin for over thirty years. In this role he was variously as head servant, Darwin's Friendship, companion, s ...
at the ceremony. In 1927 its place was taken by an elephant, and in 1970 it was moved to the North Hall of the museum, then in May 2008 the statue was moved back to its original place, displacing a statue of the Museum's founder Richard Owen. Darwin's children, now eminent, preserved his memory. In 1887 Francis Darwin published ''
Life and Letters ''Life and Letters'' was an English literary journal first published between June 1928 and April 1935. The magazine was edited from first publication by Desmond MacCarthy after he lost interest in the ''New Statesman''. It had financial backin ...
'' with his own reminiscences of his father, an autobiography Darwin had written for his family (edited to spare the sensitivities of Darwin's widow Emma), and correspondence. More volumes of correspondence followed. The Shrewsbury School building, which Darwin attended as a boy, became the Free Library. A seated statue of Darwin was installed outside it, and unveiled in 1897. The Linnean Society of London began awards of the
Darwin–Wallace Medal The Darwin–Wallace Medal is a medal awarded by the Linnean Society of London for "major advances in evolutionary biology". Historically, the medals have been awarded every 50 years, beginning in 1908. That year marked 50 years after the joint p ...
in 1908, to mark fifty years from the joint reading on 1 July 1858 of papers by Darwin and Wallace publishing their theory. Further awards were made in 1958 and 2008, since 2010 the medal awards have been annual. In June 1909, more than 400 officials and scientists from across the world met in Cambridge to commemorate Darwin's centenary and the fiftieth anniversary of ''On the Origin of Species'', with exhibitions and events.
The Darwin Centennial Celebration in 1959, on the centenary of ''On the Origin of Species'' and 150 years from Darwin's birth, had major commemorations at the
University of Chicago The University of Chicago (UChicago, Chicago, U of C, or UChi) is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois. Its main campus is located in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. The University of Chicago is consistently ranked among the b ...
. It featured the
evolutionary synthesis Modern synthesis or modern evolutionary synthesis refers to several perspectives on evolutionary biology, namely: * Modern synthesis (20th century), the term coined by Julian Huxley in 1942 to denote the synthesis between Mendelian genetics and s ...
, and claims to Darwin's legacy by biologists with differing views. It was marked by
Gavin de Beer Sir Gavin Rylands de Beer (1 November 1899 – 21 June 1972) was a British evolutionary embryologist, known for his work on heterochrony as recorded in his 1930 book ''Embryos and Ancestors''. He was director of the Natural History Museum, Lond ...
beginning publication of Darwin's manuscripts including his private notebooks, and a new generation of science historians began investigating the Darwin papers archived at Cambridge, starting the "
Darwin Industry The Darwin Industry refers to historical scholarship about, and the large community of historians of science working on, Charles Darwin's life, work, and influence. The term "has a slightly derogatory connotation, as if the scale of the research ...
". Darwin College, a postgraduate college at
Cambridge University The University of Cambridge is a Public university, public collegiate university, collegiate research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by Henry III of England, Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the world' ...
founded in 1964, is named after the Darwin family. From 2000 to 2017, UK £10 banknotes issued by the Bank of England featured Darwin's portrait printed on the reverse, along with a hummingbird and HMS ''Beagle''. In 2009 worldwide events, programmes and publications celebrated the bicentenary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of ''On the Origin of Species''. Marking his bicentenary, a statue of Darwin as a young man was placed in a courtyard of his alma mater, Christ's College, Cambridge. Darwin Day became an annual celebration. Darwin was further commemorated on a series of UK postage stamps issued by the Royal Mail in 2009 with six "jigsaw" shaped stamps symbolising how his studies of different disciplines formed his new ideas on evolution. '' Beagle: In Darwin's wake'' was a
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () Dutch may also refer to: Places * Dutch, West Virginia, a community in the United States * Pennsylvania Dutch Country People E ...
-
Flemish Flemish (''Vlaams'') is a Low Franconian dialect cluster of the Dutch language. It is sometimes referred to as Flemish Dutch (), Belgian Dutch ( ), or Southern Dutch (). Flemish is native to Flanders, a historical region in northern Belgium; ...
television series from 2009 and 2010 initiated by the
VPRO The VPRO (stylized vpro; originally an acronym for , ) is a Dutch public broadcaster, which forms a part of the Dutch public broadcasting system. Founded in 1926 as a liberal Protestant broadcasting organization, it gradually became more ...
in collaboration with Teleac and Canvas to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Darwin's ''On the Origin of Species''. The series features an 8-month voyage around the world (commenced on 1 September 2009) on board the clipper ''
Stad Amsterdam The ''Stad Amsterdam'' (''City of Amsterdam'') is a three-masted clipper that was built in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2000 at the Damen Shipyard. The ship was designed by Gerard Dijkstra who modelled her after the mid-19th century frigate '' ...
'', which follows the route of the five-year-long voyage of Darwin between 1831 and 1836. Biologist Sarah Darwin (the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin) is one of the recurring shipmates who appear in the series.


Children

The Darwins had ten children: two died in infancy, and Annie's death at the age of ten had a devastating effect on her parents. Charles was a devoted father and uncommonly attentive to his children. Whenever they fell ill, he feared that they might have inherited weaknesses from
inbreeding Inbreeding is the production of offspring from the mating or breeding of individuals or organisms that are closely related genetically. By analogy, the term is used in human reproduction, but more commonly refers to the genetic disorders and o ...
due to the close family ties he shared with his wife and cousin, Emma Wedgwood. He examined inbreeding in his writings, contrasting it with the advantages of
outcrossing Out-crossing or out-breeding is the technique of crossing between different breeds. This is the practice of introducing distantly related genetic material into a breeding line, thereby increasing genetic diversity. Outcrossing can be a usefu ...
in many species. Charles Waring Darwin, born in December 1856, was the tenth and last of the children. Emma Darwin was aged 48 at the time of the birth, and the child was mentally subnormal and never learnt to walk or talk. He probably had
Down syndrome Down syndrome or Down's syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is usually associated with physical growth delays, mild to moderate intellectual dis ...
, which had not then been medically described. The evidence is a photograph by William Erasmus Darwin of the infant and his mother, showing a characteristic head shape, and the family's observations of the child. Charles Waring died of scarlet fever on 28 June 1858, when Darwin wrote in his journal "Poor dear Baby died." Of his surviving children,
George George may refer to: People * George (given name) * George (surname) * George (singer), American-Canadian singer George Nozuka, known by the mononym George * George Washington, First President of the United States * George W. Bush, 43rd Presid ...
, Francis and
Horace Quintus Horatius Flaccus (; 8 December 65 – 27 November 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace (), was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus (also known as Octavian). The rhetorician Quintilian regarded his ' ...
became
Fellows of the Royal Society Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS, ForMemRS and HonFRS) is an award granted by the judges of the Royal Society of London to individuals who have made a "substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathemati ...
, distinguished as astronomer, botanist and civil engineer, respectively. All three were knighted. Another son,
Leonard Leonard or ''Leo'' is a common English masculine given name and a surname. The given name and surname originate from the Old High German ''Leonhard'' containing the prefix ''levon'' ("lion") from the Greek Λέων ("lion") through the Latin '' L ...
, went on to be a soldier, politician, economist,
eugenicist Eugenics ( ; ) is a fringe set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of a human population. Historically, eugenicists have attempted to alter human gene pools by excluding people and groups judged to be inferior or ...
and mentor of the statistician and evolutionary biologist Ronald Fisher.


Views and opinions


Religious views

Darwin's family tradition was
nonconformist Nonconformity or nonconformism may refer to: Culture and society * Insubordination, the act of willfully disobeying an order of one's superior *Dissent, a sentiment or philosophy of non-agreement or opposition to a prevailing idea or entity ** ...
Unitarianism, while his father and grandfather were freethinkers, and his baptism and boarding school were
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the established Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain ...
. When going to Cambridge to become an Anglican clergyman, he did not "in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible". He learned John Herschel's science which, like William Paley's natural theology, sought explanations in laws of nature rather than miracles and saw adaptation of species as evidence of design. On board HMS ''Beagle'', Darwin was quite
orthodox Orthodox, Orthodoxy, or Orthodoxism may refer to: Religion * Orthodoxy, adherence to accepted norms, more specifically adherence to creeds, especially within Christianity and Judaism, but also less commonly in non-Abrahamic religions like Neo-pa ...
and would quote the Bible as an authority on
morality Morality () is the differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper (right) and those that are improper (wrong). Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of co ...
. He looked for "centres of creation" to explain distribution, and suggested that the very similar antlions found in Australia and England were evidence of a divine hand. By his return, he was critical of the Bible as history, and wondered why all religions should not be equally valid. In the next few years, while intensively speculating on geology and the transmutation of species, he gave much thought to religion and openly discussed this with his wife Emma, whose beliefs similarly came from intensive study and questioning. The
theodicy Theodicy () means vindication of God. It is to answer the question of why a good God permits the manifestation of evil, thus resolving the issue of the problem of evil. Some theodicies also address the problem of evil "to make the existence of ...
of Paley and
Thomas Malthus Thomas Robert Malthus (; 13/14 February 1766 – 29 December 1834) was an English cleric, scholar and influential economist in the fields of political economy and demography. In his 1798 book ''An Essay on the Principle of Population'', Mal ...
vindicated evils such as starvation as a result of a benevolent creator's laws, which had an overall good effect. To Darwin, natural selection produced the good of adaptation but removed the need for design, and he could not see the work of an omnipotent deity in all the pain and suffering, such as the
ichneumon wasp The Ichneumonidae, also known as the ichneumon wasps, Darwin wasps, or ichneumonids, are a family of parasitoid wasps of the insect order Hymenoptera. They are one of the most diverse groups within the Hymenoptera with roughly 25,000 species cu ...
paralysing
caterpillar Caterpillars ( ) are the larval stage of members of the order Lepidoptera (the insect order comprising butterflies and moths). As with most common names, the application of the word is arbitrary, since the larvae of sawflies (suborder Sym ...
s as live food for its eggs. Though he thought of religion as a
tribal The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human social group. The predominant worldwide usage of the term in English is in the discipline of anthropology. This definition is contested, in part due to conflic ...
survival strategy, Darwin was reluctant to give up the idea of God as an ultimate lawgiver. He was increasingly troubled by the
problem of evil The problem of evil is the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil and suffering with an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient God.The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,The Problem of Evil, Michael TooleyThe Internet Encycl ...
. Darwin remained close friends with the
vicar A vicar (; Latin: '' vicarius'') is a representative, deputy or substitute; anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior (compare "vicarious" in the sense of "at second hand"). Linguistically, ''vicar'' is cognate with the English pre ...
of Downe,
John Brodie Innes The Reverend John Brodie Innes (26 December 1815 – 19 October 1894), John Innes before 1862, was a clergyman who became a close friend of Charles Darwin at Downe in Kent, and remained a friendly correspondent for the rest of Darwin's life. Born ...
, and continued to play a leading part in the parish work of the church, but from around 1849 would go for a walk on Sundays while his family attended church. He considered it "absurd to doubt that a man might be an ardent theist and an evolutionist"Letter 12041
 – Darwin, C. R. to Fordyce, John, 7 May 1879
Darwin's Complex loss of Faith
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer'' and ''The Guardian Weekly'', ''The Guardian'' is part of the Gu ...
17 September 2009
and, though reticent about his religious views, in 1879 he wrote that "I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. – I think that generally ... an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind". The "
Lady Hope Story Elizabeth Reid Cotton, (9 December 1842 – 8 March 1922) who became Lady Hope when she married Sir James Hope in 1877, was a British evangelist active in the Temperance movement. In 1915, she claimed to have visited the British naturalist C ...
", published in 1915, claimed that Darwin had reverted to Christianity on his sickbed. The claims were repudiated by Darwin's children and have been dismissed as false by historians.


Human society

Darwin's views on social and political issues reflected his time and social position. He grew up in a family of Whig reformers who, like his uncle Josiah Wedgwood, supported
electoral reform Electoral reform is a change in electoral systems which alters how public desires are expressed in election results. That can include reforms of: * Voting systems, such as proportional representation, a two-round system (runoff voting), instant-r ...
and the emancipation of slaves. Darwin was passionately opposed to slavery, while seeing no problem with the working conditions of English factory workers or servants. Taking taxidermy lessons in 1826 from the freed slave John Edmonstone, whom Darwin long recalled as "a very pleasant and intelligent man", reinforced his belief that black people shared the same feelings, and could be as intelligent as people of other races. He took the same attitude to native people he met on the ''Beagle'' voyage. Though commonplace in Britain at the time, Silliman and Bachman noticed the contrast with slave-owning America. Around twenty years later, racism became a feature of British society,
but Darwin remained strongly against slavery, against "ranking the so-called races of man as distinct species", and against ill-treatment of native people. Darwin's interaction with
Yaghans The Yahgan (also called Yagán, Yaghan, Yámana, Yamana or Tequenica) are a group of indigenous peoples in the Southern Cone. Their traditional territory includes the islands south of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, extending their presence in ...
(Fuegians) such as Jemmy Button during the second voyage of HMS ''Beagle'' had a profound impact on his view of indigenous peoples. At his arrival in Tierra del Fuego he made a colourful description of "
Fuegian Fuegians are the indigenous inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego, at the southern tip of South America. In English, the term originally referred to the Yaghan people of Tierra del Fuego. In Spanish, the term ''fueguino'' can refer to any person fro ...
savages". This view changed as he came to know Yaghan people more in detail. By studying the Yaghans, Darwin concluded that a number of basic emotions by different human groups were the same and that mental capabilities were roughly the same as for Europeans. While interested in Yaghan culture Darwin failed to appreciate their deep ecological knowledge and elaborate cosmology until the 1850s when he inspected a dictionary of Yaghan detailing 32,000 words. He saw that European colonisation would often lead to the extinction of native civilisations, and "tr edto integrate colonialism into an evolutionary history of civilization analogous to natural history". He thought men's eminence over women was the outcome of sexual selection, a view disputed by
Antoinette Brown Blackwell Antoinette Louisa Brown, later Antoinette Brown Blackwell (May 20, 1825 – November 5, 1921), was the first woman to be ordained as a mainstream Protestant minister in the United States. She was a well-versed public speaker on the paramount iss ...
in her 1875 book ''
The Sexes Throughout Nature ''The Sexes Throughout Nature'' is a book written by Antoinette Brown Blackwell, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons in 1875. Overview and print history The book critiques Charles Darwin four years after he published ''The Descent of Man, and Select ...
''. Darwin was intrigued by his half-cousin Francis Galton's argument, introduced in 1865, that statistical analysis of heredity showed that moral and mental human traits could be inherited, and principles of animal breeding could apply to humans. In ''The Descent of Man'', Darwin noted that aiding the weak to survive and have families could lose the benefits of natural selection, but cautioned that withholding such aid would endanger the instinct of sympathy, "the noblest part of our nature", and factors such as education could be more important. When Galton suggested that publishing research could encourage intermarriage within a "caste" of "those who are naturally gifted", Darwin foresaw practical difficulties, and thought it "the sole feasible, yet I fear
utopian A utopia ( ) typically describes an imaginary community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its members. It was coined by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book ''Utopia'', describing a fictional island society ...
, plan of procedure in improving the human race", preferring to simply publicise the importance of inheritance and leave decisions to individuals. Francis Galton named this field of study "eugenics" in 1883, after Darwin's death, and his theories were cited to promote eugenic policies.


Evolutionary social movements

Darwin's fame and popularity led to his name being associated with ideas and movements that, at times, had only an indirect relation to his writings, and sometimes went directly against his express comments. Thomas Malthus had argued that population growth beyond resources was ordained by God to get humans to work productively and show restraint in getting families; this was used in the 1830s to justify
workhouse In Britain, a workhouse () was an institution where those unable to support themselves financially were offered accommodation and employment. (In Scotland, they were usually known as poorhouses.) The earliest known use of the term ''workhouse' ...
s and
laissez-faire economics ''Laissez-faire'' ( ; from french: laissez faire , ) is an economic system in which transactions between private groups of people are free from any form of economic interventionism (such as subsidies) deriving from special interest groups. A ...
.
Evolution was by then seen as having social implications, and
Herbert Spencer Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher, psychologist, biologist, anthropologist, and sociologist famous for his hypothesis of social Darwinism. Spencer originated the expression " survival of the fi ...
's 1851 book ''Social Statics'' based ideas of human freedom and individual liberties on his Lamarckian evolutionary theory. Soon after the ''Origin'' was published in 1859, critics derided his description of a struggle for existence as a Malthusian justification for the English industrial capitalism of the time. The term ''Darwinism'' was used for the evolutionary ideas of others, including Spencer's " survival of the fittest" as free-market progress, and Ernst Haeckel's polygenistic ideas of
human development Human development may refer to: * Development of the human body * Developmental psychology * Human development (economics) * Human Development Index, an index used to rank countries by level of human development * Human evolution Human evoluti ...
. Writers used natural selection to argue for various, often contradictory, ideologies such as laissez-faire dog-eat-dog capitalism,
colonialism Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colony, colonies and generally with the aim of economic dominance. In the process of colonisation, colonisers may impose the ...
and imperialism. However, Darwin's holistic view of nature included "dependence of one being on another"; thus
pacifists Pacifism is the opposition or resistance to war, militarism (including conscription and mandatory military service) or violence. Pacifists generally reject theories of Just War. The word ''pacifism'' was coined by the French peace campaigne ...
, socialists, liberal social reformers and anarchists such as Peter Kropotkin stressed the value of co-operation over struggle within a species. Darwin himself insisted that social policy should not simply be guided by concepts of struggle and selection in nature. After the 1880s, a eugenics movement developed on ideas of biological inheritance, and for scientific justification of their ideas appealed to some concepts of Darwinism. In Britain, most shared Darwin's cautious views on voluntary improvement and sought to encourage those with good traits in "positive eugenics". During the "Eclipse of Darwinism", a scientific foundation for eugenics was provided by
Mendelian Mendelian inheritance (also known as Mendelism) is a type of biological inheritance following the principles originally proposed by Gregor Mendel in 1865 and 1866, re-discovered in 1900 by Hugo de Vries and Carl Correns, and later popularize ...
genetics Genetics is the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in organisms.Hartl D, Jones E (2005) It is an important branch in biology because heredity is vital to organisms' evolution. Gregor Mendel, a Moravian Augustinian friar wor ...
. Negative eugenics to remove the "feebleminded" were popular in America, Canada and Australia, and
eugenics in the United States Eugenics, the set of beliefs and practices which aims at improving the Genetics, genetic quality of the human population, played a significant role in the history and culture of the United States from the late 19th century into the mid-20th c ...
introduced
compulsory sterilisation Compulsory sterilization, also known as forced or coerced sterilization, is a government-mandated program to involuntarily sterilize a specific group of people. Sterilization removes a person's capacity to reproduce, and is usually done throug ...
laws, followed by several other countries. Subsequently,
Nazi eugenics Nazi eugenics refers to the social policies of eugenics in Nazi Germany, composed of various pseudoscientific ideas about genetics. The racial ideology of Nazism placed the biological improvement of the German people by selective breeding of ...
brought the field into disrepute. The term "
Social Darwinism Social Darwinism refers to various theories and societal practices that purport to apply biological concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to sociology, economics and politics, and which were largely defined by scholars in We ...
" was used infrequently from around the 1890s, but became popular as a derogatory term in the 1940s when used by
Richard Hofstadter Richard Hofstadter (August 6, 1916October 24, 1970) was an American historian and public intellectual of the mid-20th century. Hofstadter was the DeWitt Clinton Professor of American History at Columbia University. Rejecting his earlier historic ...
to attack the
laissez-faire ''Laissez-faire'' ( ; from french: laissez faire , ) is an economic system in which transactions between private groups of people are free from any form of economic interventionism (such as subsidies) deriving from special interest groups ...
conservatism of those like
William Graham Sumner William Graham Sumner (October 30, 1840 – April 12, 1910) was an American clergyman, social scientist, and classical liberal. He taught social sciences at Yale University—where he held the nation's first professorship in sociology—and be ...
who opposed reform and socialism. Since then, it has been used as a term of abuse by those opposed to what they think are the moral consequences of evolution.


Works

Darwin was a prolific writer. Even without publication of his works on evolution, he would have had a considerable reputation as the author of ''The Voyage of the Beagle'', as a geologist who had published extensively on South America and had solved the puzzle of the formation of
coral atoll Corals are marine invertebrates within the class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria. They typically form compact colonies of many identical individual polyps. Coral species include the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secre ...
s, and as a biologist who had published the definitive work on barnacles. While ''On the Origin of Species'' dominates perceptions of his work, ''The Descent of Man'' and ''The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals'' had considerable impact, and his books on plants including ''The Power of Movement in Plants'' were innovative studies of great importance, as was his final work on ''
The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms #REDIRECT The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms #REDIRECT The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
''.


See also

* '' 1991 Darwin'' * :Cultural depictions of Charles Darwin * ''
Creation Creation may refer to: Religion *''Creatio ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Creation myth, a religious story of the origin of the world and how people first came to inhabit it * Creationism, the belief tha ...
'' (biographical drama film) *
Creation–evolution controversy Recurring cultural, political, and theological rejection of evolution by religious groups (sometimes termed the creation–evolution controversy, the creation vs. evolution debate or the origins debate) exists regarding the origins of the Eart ...
*
European and American voyages of scientific exploration The era of European and American voyages of scientific exploration followed the Age of Discovery and were inspired by a new confidence in science and reason that arose in the Age of Enlightenment. Maritime expeditions in the Age of Discovery were ...
*
History of biology The history of biology traces the study of the living world from ancient to modern times. Although the concept of ''biology'' as a single coherent field arose in the 19th century, the biological sciences emerged from traditions of medicine a ...
*
History of evolutionary thought Evolutionary thought, the recognition that species change over time and the perceived understanding of how such processes work, has roots in antiquity—in the ideas of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Church Fathers as well as in medie ...
*
List of coupled cousins This is a list of notable individuals who have been romantically or maritally coupled with a first cousin. Worldwide, more than 10% of marriages are between first or second cousins. Cousin marriage is an important topic in anthropology and allian ...
*
List of multiple discoveries Historians and sociologists have remarked upon the occurrence, in science, of " multiple independent discovery". Robert K. Merton defined such "multiples" as instances in which similar discoveries are made by scientists working independently of ea ...
*
Multiple discovery Multiple may refer to: Economics * Multiple finance, a method used to analyze stock prices *Multiples of the price-to-earnings ratio *Chain stores, are also referred to as 'Multiples' *Box office multiple, the ratio of a film's total gross to th ...
*
Portraits of Charles Darwin There are many known portraits of Charles Darwin. Darwin came from a wealthy family and became a well-known naturalist and author, and portraits were made of him in childhood, adulthood and old age. Darwin's life (1809–1882) spanned the deve ...
* Tinamou egg *
Universal Darwinism Universal Darwinism, also known as generalized Darwinism, universal selection theory, or Darwinian metaphysics, is a variety of approaches that extend the theory of Darwinism beyond its original domain of biological evolution on Earth. Universal ...


Notes

. Darwin was eminent as a naturalist, geologist,
biologist A biologist is a scientist who conducts research in biology. Biologists are interested in studying life on Earth, whether it is an individual Cell (biology), cell, a multicellular organism, or a Community (ecology), community of Biological inter ...
, and author. After a summer as a
physician A physician (American English), medical practitioner (Commonwealth English), medical doctor, or simply doctor, is a health professional who practices medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring health through th ...
's assistant (helping his father) and two years as a
medical student A medical school is a tertiary educational institution, or part of such an institution, that teaches medicine, and awards a professional degree for physicians. Such medical degrees include the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, MB ...
, he went to Cambridge for the ordinary degree to qualify as a clergyman; he was also trained in
taxidermy Taxidermy is the art of preserving an animal's body via mounting (over an armature) or stuffing, for the purpose of display or study. Animals are often, but not always, portrayed in a lifelike state. The word ''taxidermy'' describes the proc ...
. .
Robert FitzRoy Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy (5 July 1805 – 30 April 1865) was an English officer of the Royal Navy and a scientist. He achieved lasting fame as the captain of during Charles Darwin's famous voyage, FitzRoy's second expedition to Tierra de ...
was to become known after the voyage for
biblical literalism Biblical literalism or biblicism is a term used differently by different authors concerning biblical interpretation. It can equate to the dictionary definition of literalism: "adherence to the exact letter or the literal sense", where literal mea ...
, but at this time he had considerable interest in Lyell's ideas, and they met before the voyage when Lyell asked for observations to be made in South America. FitzRoy's diary during the ascent of the River Santa Cruz in
Patagonia Patagonia () refers to a geographical region that encompasses the southern end of South America, governed by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes Mountains with lakes, fjords, temperate rainforests, and g ...
recorded his opinion that the plains were
raised beach A raised beach, coastal terrace,Pinter, N (2010): 'Coastal Terraces, Sealevel, and Active Tectonics' (educational exercise), from 2/04/2011/ref> or perched coastline is a relatively flat, horizontal or gently inclined surface of marine origin,P ...
es, but on return, newly married to a very religious lady, he recanted these ideas. . In the section "Morphology" of Chapter XIII of ''On the Origin of Species'', Darwin commented on homologous bone patterns between humans and other mammals, writing: "What can be more curious than that the hand of a man, formed for grasping, that of a mole for digging, the leg of the horse, the paddle of the porpoise, and the wing of the bat, should all be constructed on the same pattern, and should include the same bones, in the same relative positions?" and in the concluding chapter: "The framework of bones being the same in the hand of a man, wing of a bat, fin of the porpoise, and leg of the horse … at once explain themselves on the theory of descent with slow and slight successive modifications." . In ''
On the Origin of Species ''On 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''),The book's full original title was ''On the Origin of Species by Me ...
'' Darwin mentioned human origins in his concluding remark that "In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history." In "Chapter VI: Difficulties on Theory" he referred to
sexual selection Sexual selection is a mode of natural selection in which members of one biological sex choose mates of the other sex to mate with (intersexual selection), and compete with members of the same sex for access to members of the opposite sex ( ...
: "I might have adduced for this same purpose the differences between the races of man, which are so strongly marked; I may add that some little light can apparently be thrown on the origin of these differences, chiefly through sexual selection of a particular kind, but without here entering on copious details my reasoning would appear frivolous." In ''
The Descent of Man ''The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex'' is a book by English naturalist Charles Darwin, first published in 1871, which applies evolutionary theory to human evolution, and details his theory of sexual selection, a form of biol ...
'' of 1871, Darwin discussed the first passage: "During many years I collected notes on the origin or descent of man, without any intention of publishing on the subject, but rather with the determination not to publish, as I thought that I should thus only add to the prejudices against my views. It seemed to me sufficient to indicate, in the first edition of my 'Origin of Species,' that by this work 'light would be thrown on the origin of man and his history;' and this implies that man must be included with other organic beings in any general conclusion respecting his manner of appearance on this earth." In a preface to the 1874 second edition, he added a reference to the second point: "it has been said by several critics, that when I found that many details of structure in man could not be explained through natural selection, I invented sexual selection; I gave, however, a tolerably clear sketch of this principle in the first edition of the 'Origin of Species,' and I there stated that it was applicable to man." . See, for example, WILLA volume 4,
Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Feminization of Education
' by Deborah M. De Simone: "Gilman shared many basic educational ideas with the generation of thinkers who matured during the period of "intellectual chaos" caused by Darwin's Origin of the Species. Marked by the belief that individuals can direct human and social evolution, many progressives came to view education as the panacea for advancing social progress and for solving such problems as urbanisation, poverty, or immigration." . See, for example, the song "A lady fair of lineage high" from Gilbert and Sullivan's ''
Princess Ida ''Princess Ida; or, Castle Adamant'' is a comic opera with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It was their eighth operatic collaboration of fourteen. ''Princess Ida'' opened at the Savoy Theatre on 5 January 1884, for a ru ...
'', which describes the descent of man (but not woman!) from apes. . Darwin's belief that black people had the same essential humanity as Europeans, and had many mental similarities, was reinforced by the lessons he had from John Edmonstone in 1826. Early in the ''Beagle'' voyage, Darwin nearly lost his position on the ship when he criticised FitzRoy's defence and praise of slavery. He wrote home about "how steadily the general feeling, as shown at elections, has been rising against Slavery. What a proud thing for England if she is the first European nation which utterly abolishes it! I was told before leaving England that after living in slave countries all my opinions would be altered; the only alteration I am aware of is forming a much higher estimate of the negro character." Regarding
Fuegians Fuegians are the indigenous inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego, at the southern tip of South America. In English, the term originally referred to the Yaghan people of Tierra del Fuego. In Spanish, the term ''fueguino'' can refer to any person from ...
, he "could not have believed how wide was the difference between savage and civilized man: it is greater than between a wild and domesticated animal, inasmuch as in man there is a greater power of improvement", but he knew and liked civilised Fuegians like
Jemmy Button Orundellico, known as "Jeremy Button" or "Jemmy Button" (c. 1815–1864), was a member of the Yaghan (or Yámana) people from islands around Tierra del Fuego, in modern Chile and Argentina. He was taken to England by Captain FitzRoy in HMS ''B ...
: "It seems yet wonderful to me, when I think over all his many good qualities, that he should have been of the same race, and doubtless partaken of the same character, with the miserable, degraded savages whom we first met here." In the ''Descent of Man'', he mentioned the similarity of Fuegians' and Edmonstone's minds to Europeans' when arguing against "ranking the so-called races of man as distinct species". He rejected the ill-treatment of native people, and for example wrote of massacres of
Patagonia Patagonia () refers to a geographical region that encompasses the southern end of South America, governed by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes Mountains with lakes, fjords, temperate rainforests, and g ...
n men, women, and children, "Every one here is fully convinced that this is the most just war, because it is against barbarians. Who would believe in this age that such atrocities could be committed in a Christian civilized country?" .
Geneticist A geneticist is a biologist or physician who studies genetics, the science of genes, heredity, and variation of organisms. A geneticist can be employed as a scientist or a lecturer. Geneticists may perform general research on genetic processes ...
s studied human heredity as
Mendelian inheritance Mendelian inheritance (also known as Mendelism) is a type of biological inheritance following the principles originally proposed by Gregor Mendel in 1865 and 1866, re-discovered in 1900 by Hugo de Vries and Carl Correns, and later popularize ...
, while
eugenics Eugenics ( ; ) is a fringe set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of a human population. Historically, eugenicists have attempted to alter human gene pools by excluding people and groups judged to be inferior o ...
movements sought to manage society, with a focus on social class in the United Kingdom, and on disability and ethnicity in the United States, leading to geneticists seeing this movement as impractical
pseudoscience Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs, or practices that claim to be both scientific and factual but are incompatible with the scientific method. Pseudoscience is often characterized by contradictory, exaggerated or unfalsifiable clai ...
. A shift from voluntary arrangements to "negative" eugenics included
compulsory sterilisation Compulsory sterilization, also known as forced or coerced sterilization, is a government-mandated program to involuntarily sterilize a specific group of people. Sterilization removes a person's capacity to reproduce, and is usually done throug ...
laws in the United States, copied by
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") (officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945) was ...
as the basis for
Nazi eugenics Nazi eugenics refers to the social policies of eugenics in Nazi Germany, composed of various pseudoscientific ideas about genetics. The racial ideology of Nazism placed the biological improvement of the German people by selective breeding of ...
based on virulent racism and "
racial hygiene The term racial hygiene was used to describe an approach to eugenics in the early 20th century, which found its most extensive implementation in Nazi Germany (Nazi eugenics). It was marked by efforts to avoid miscegenation, analogous to an animal ...
".
( ) .
David Quammen David Quammen (born February 24, 1948) is an American science, nature, and travel writer and the author of fifteen books. His articles have appeared in '' Outside Magazine'', '' National Geographic'', '' Harper's'', ''Rolling Stone'', ''The New Yo ...
writes of his "theory that
arwin The following is a list of recurring and minor characters in the Disney Channel Original Series ''The Suite Life of Zack & Cody''. These characters were regularly rotated, often disappearing for long periods during the series. Tipton staff Arwi ...
turned to these arcane botanical studies – producing more than one book that was solidly empirical, discreetly evolutionary, yet a 'horrid bore' – at least partly so that the clamorous controversialists, fighting about apes and angels and souls, would leave him... alone".
David Quammen David Quammen (born February 24, 1948) is an American science, nature, and travel writer and the author of fifteen books. His articles have appeared in '' Outside Magazine'', '' National Geographic'', '' Harper's'', ''Rolling Stone'', ''The New Yo ...
, "The Brilliant Plodder" (review of Ken Thompson, ''Darwin's Most Wonderful Plants: A Tour of His Botanical Legacy'',
University of Chicago Press The University of Chicago Press is the largest and one of the oldest university presses in the United States. It is operated by the University of Chicago and publishes a wide variety of academic titles, including ''The Chicago Manual of Style'', ...
, 255 pp.; Elizabeth Hennessy, ''On the Backs of Tortoises: Darwin, the Galápagos, and the Fate of an Evolutionary Eden'',
Yale University Press Yale University Press is the university press of Yale University. It was founded in 1908 by George Parmly Day, and became an official department of Yale University in 1961, but it remains financially and operationally autonomous. , Yale Universi ...
, 310 pp.; Bill Jenkins, ''Evolution Before Darwin: Theories of the Transmutation of Species in Edinburgh, 1804–1834'', Edinburgh University Press, 222 pp.), ''
The New York Review of Books ''The New York Review of Books'' (or ''NYREV'' or ''NYRB'') is a semi-monthly magazine with articles on literature, culture, economics, science and current affairs. Published in New York City, it is inspired by the idea that the discussion of i ...
'', vol. LXVII, no. 7 (23 April 2020), pp. 22–24. Quammen, quoted from p. 24 of his review.


Citations


References

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

* * * * * The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online �
Darwin Online
Darwin's publications, private papers and bibliography, supplementary works including biographies, obituaries and reviews
Darwin Correspondence Project
Full text and notes for complete correspondence to 1867, with summaries of all the rest, and pages of commentary
Darwin Manuscript Project
* * View books owned and annotated b
Charles Darwin
at the online Biodiversity Heritage Library.
Digitised Darwin Manuscripts
in
Cambridge Digital Library The Cambridge Digital Library is a project operated by the Cambridge University Library designed to make items from the unique and distinctive collections of Cambridge University Library available online. The project was initially funded by a donat ...
* *
Charles Darwin in the British horticultural press
– Occasional Papers from RHS Lindley Library, volume 3 July 2010 *
Scientific American ''Scientific American'', informally abbreviated ''SciAm'' or sometimes ''SA'', is an American popular science magazine. Many famous scientists, including Albert Einstein and Nikola Tesla, have contributed articles to it. In print since 1845, it ...
, 29 April 1882, pp. 256
Obituary of Charles Darwin
{{DEFAULTSORT:Darwin, Charles 1809 births 1882 deaths 19th-century British biologists 19th-century English writers Alumni of Christ's College, Cambridge Alumni of the University of Edinburgh Botanists with author abbreviations British carcinologists Burials at Westminster Abbey Circumnavigators of the globe Coleopterists Darwin–Wedgwood family Deaths from coronary thrombosis English abolitionists English agnostics English Anglicans English entomologists English geologists English justices of the peace English naturalists English sceptics English travel writers Ethologists Evolutionary biologists Fellows of the Linnean Society of London Fellows of the Royal Entomological Society Fellows of the Royal Geographical Society Fellows of the Royal Society Fellows of the Zoological Society of London Human evolution theorists Human evolution Independent scientists Members of the American Philosophical Society Members of the Lincean Academy Members of the Royal Academy of Belgium Members of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences People educated at Shrewsbury School Scientists from Shrewsbury Recipients of the Copley Medal Recipients of the Pour le Mérite (civil class) Royal Medal winners Theoretical biologists Utilitarians Wollaston Medal winners