Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin: 

Charles Darwin

Charles Robert Darwin: 

Charles Robert Darwin Born February 12th, 1809 Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England Fifth child of a wealthy and sophisticated English family


Education Graduated from Shrewsbury in 1825 Studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Dropped out before graduating. Entered the University of Cambridge to prepare to become a clergyman.

Interest in Science: 

Interest in Science Influenced by Adam Sedgwick, a geologist, and John S. Henslow, a naturalist while at Cambridge. Graduated from Cambridge in 1831.

Aboard the HMS Beagle: 

Aboard the HMS Beagle At age 22, after graduating college, accompanied the Beagle on a scientific expedition as an unpaid naturalist. The Beagle explored the oceans off South America and the South Pacific.

As a Naturalist: 

As a Naturalist Darwin was to observe geological formations, fossils and living organisms on continents and islands along the way. He was impressed with the effects of natural forces on the earth.

Galapagos Islands: 

Galapagos Islands Observed tortoises, mockingbirds, finches and other species. Noted each island supported its own form of animal and plant life. These were closely related yet different from island to island.

Influences on Darwin: 

Influences on Darwin Darwin developed his ideas about the changeability of species while on the voyage. He was influenced by Thomas Malthus, a British economist, who argued that the human population remained in balance with its food supply.

Developing a Theory: 

Developing a Theory Upon returning to England in 1836, began recording his explanations about his findings. Darwin finally developed his theory of evolution 22 years after returning from the Galapagos. Studied the theory of Artificial Selection.

The Theory of Natural Selection: 

The Theory of Natural Selection Darwin believed there was a force in nature that worked similar to Artificial Selection Darwin’s theory was that Natural Selection was the mechanism for change in populations, certain variations survive, reproduce, and pass on to the next generation.

Malthus vs. Darwin: 

Malthus vs. Darwin Malthus believed the availability of a food supply influenced the population. Darwin believed each subsequent generation would have favorable natural variations, influenced by their surroundings.

Reactions to the theory: 

Reactions to the theory Some biologists argued that Darwin could not prove his hypothesis. Others criticized Darwin’s concept of variation. Religious opponents argued that Creationism was the beginning of human life.

Other Concepts by Darwin: 

Other Concepts by Darwin Darwin felt that all related organisms are descended from common ancestors. Darwin believed that the earth is not static, but always evolving.

The Later Years: 

The Later Years Darwin was independently wealthy and never had to earn an income. He and his wife, Emma Wedgwood, had ten children. Darwin spent the rest of his life expanding different aspects raised in his earlier works.

Writings of Darwin: 

Writings of Darwin On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection. (1859) The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication. (1868) The Descent of Man. (1871) The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. (1872)

Darwin Recognized: 

Darwin Recognized Darwin elected to the Royal Society in 1839. Elected to the French Academy of Sciences in 1878. Burial with honors in Westminster Abbey in 1882.

Darwin on Darwin: 

Darwin on Darwin In writing to his friend Asa Gray, “I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton.”


Bibliography Biology-The Dynamics of Life, Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 2000, Chapter 15 The Theory of Evolution. Pg 400. Darwin, Charles Robert; May 22, 2002 Charles Darwin;

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