What Are The Main Points Of Darwin's Theory?

The main point of Darwin's theory is that organisms change over time through a process called evolution. Evolution is based on variation, so no individuals in a species are identical. It is also based on heredity, so parents pass genetic traits to their offspring. In Darwin's theory of natural selection, he proposed that organisms pass down traits that give their offspring a better chance of survival and reproduction. Different species also have different reproduction rates based on chances for survival.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Charles Darwin is famous for his theory of natural selection. In his 1859 book entitled On the Origin of Species, Darwin theorized that organisms change over time through a process called evolution. We can break this theory down into smaller parts to really understand his main points.

Darwin proposed that all species of organisms come from a common ancestor. His theory of natural selection accounts for how and why organisms have changed over time. He theorized that all species evolved from that ancestor. According to Darwin, evolution occurs through a process called natural selection. Darwin theorized that this selection process is based on the passing down and preserving useful traits. Useful traits refer to traits that allow an organism to have a better chance at reproduction and survival.

Evolution is based on the principle of variation. Variation means that no individual organisms in the same species are identical. Individual organisms vary in terms of their behavior, form, and physical makeup. For example, two organisms can belong to the same species but be a different color. Evolution is also based on the principle of heredity. Even though there is variation, organisms tend to resemble their parents. Heredity refers to the way that specific traits are based down to the next generations.

Ultimately, natural selection is based on differential reproduction. This means that some organisms have a higher reproductive rate than others based on the chances of survival. This point is why Darwin’s theory is associated with the famous phrase “survival of the fittest,” though he did not coin it. When there is over-reproduction in a population, competition in the environment narrows down who survives and who lives to pass down their traits.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team