Darwin Publishes On the Origin of Species (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species and theorizes that existing plant and animal species evolved from earlier living forms, providing an organizing principle for biology but casting doubt on the biblical story of creation.
Summary of Event
Charles Robert Darwin was born in 1809, the son of a middle-class English family whose heritage included much interest in science. His grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, had earlier speculated about evolution, although, like the French theorist Jean de Lamarck, he attributed organic changes to the will of the organism seeking to adapt itself to its changing environment. Darwin himself claimed that his grandfather’s ideas had little impact on him, and he disputed any comparison between his own work and Lamarck’s. It is known, however, that Darwin as a youth read his grandfather’s Zoonomia.
Darwin’s first interest was in becoming a physician like his father, but he found this work distasteful. He went to Cambridge University with the intention of becoming a clergyman, but once there he quickly developed his lifelong interest in the natural sciences and came into contact with some of the best naturalists of his day.
(The entire section is 1456 words.)
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