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Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin seated
Charles Robert Darwin. At the age of 51, Charles Darwin had just published On the Origin of Species.

Born

12 February 1809(1809-02-12)

Birth place

Mount House, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England

Died

19 April 1882 (aged 73)

Residence

England

Fields

Naturalist

Institutions

Royal Geographical Society

Known for

The Voyage of the Beagle
On The Origin of Species
Natural selection

Influenced

Thomas Henry Huxley

Charles Robert Darwin FRS (12 February 1809–19 April 1882) was an English naturalist who realized and presented compelling evidence that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors, through the process he called natural selection.[1] The fact that evolution occurs became accepted by the scientific community and much of the general public in his lifetime, while his theory of natural selection came to be widely seen as the primary explanation of the process of evolution in the 1930s,[2] and now forms the basis of modern evolutionary theory. In modified form, Darwin’s scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, providing logical explanation for the diversity of life.[3]

At Edinburgh University Darwin neglected medical studies to investigate marine invertebrates, then the University of Cambridge encouraged a passion for natural science. His five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell’s uniformitarian ideas, and publication of his journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author. Puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage, Darwin investigated the transmutation of species and conceived his theory of natural selection in 1838. He was writing up his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him an essay which described the same idea, prompting immediate joint publication of both of their theories.[4]

His 1859 book On the Origin of Species established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature.[2] He examined human evolution and sexual selection in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, followed by The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. His research on plants was published in a series of books, and in his final book, he examined earthworms and their effect on soil.[5]

In recognition of Darwin’s pre-eminence, he was one of only five 19th-century UK non-royal personages to be honoured by a state funeral,[6] and was buried in Westminster Abbey, close to John Herschel and Isaac Newton.[7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ As Darwinian scholar Joseph Carroll of the University of Missouri–St. Louis puts it in his introduction to a modern reprint of Darwin's work: "The Origin of Species has special claims on our attention. It is one of the two or three most significant works of all time—one of those works that fundamentally and permanently alter our vision of the world....It is argued with a singularly rigorous consistency but it is also eloquent, imaginatively evocative, and rhetorically compelling." Carroll, Joseph, ed (2003). On the origin of species by means of natural selection. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview. p. 15. ISBN 1551113376. 
  2. ^ a b van Wyhe 2008
  3. ^ The Complete Works of Darwin Online - Biography. darwin-online.org.uk. Retrieved on 2006-12-15
    Dobzhansky 1973
  4. ^ Darwin - At last. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved on 2007-03-21
  5. ^ Freeman 1977
  6. ^ "BBC NEWS : Politics : Thatcher state funeral undecided". 2008-08-02. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7538482.stm. Retrieved on 2008-08-10. 
  7. ^ Leff 2000, Darwin's Burial

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