The man who is best known for his contributions to the science of evolution, Charles Robert Darwin was born on February 12, 1809. He published his theory of evolution in the 1859 book On the Origin of Species and proposed that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors -- a fact that is widely accepted by the scientific community now. One of the most influential figures in human history, Darwin’s explanation of the diversity of life was in sharp contrast to Victorian beliefs of the time. However, the book aroused international interest and saw less controversy that his less scientific work Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation.
Darwinism went on to become a movement covering a wide range of evolutionary ideas.
His work on the theory of evolution also broke through Godwinian utopianism a theory propounded by philosopher-novelist William Godwin. Godwinian utopianism considered co-habitation to be an evil and termed marriage as a “system of fraud.”
In 1882, Darwin was diagnosed with heart disease and died at Down House, United Kingdom, in April. At the time of his death, the scientific community was convinced that evolution as descent with modification was correct, making him a revolutionary scientist.
On Darwin’s 211th birth anniversary here’s looking at a few interesting facts about him
Darwin got enrolled in the prestigious University of Edinburgh to study medicine, but soon realised that the subject was not meant for him, mainly due to his aversion to blood. He ended up graduating from Christ’s College in Cambridge with a degree in arts.
He embarked on a five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle, which helped establish him as an eminent geologist. His observations supported Charles Lyell’s conception of gradual geological change. The publication of his journal chronicling the voyage made him famous as a popular author as well.
The chronicling of Darwin’s voyage, which ended in 1836, resulted in his theory of evolution and natural selection.
However, he did not present his theory of evolution until 1858 when he announced the same with British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who had proposed a similar theory as.
Darwin published his seminal work, ‘The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection’, the year after.
Charles Darwin shares his birthday with Abraham Lincoln. Born on the same day and year, the two had another similarity. While Lincoln is known for abolishing slavery from America, Darwin was passionately opposed to slavery as well.
Darwin’s interaction with Yaghans (Fuegians) during the second voyage of HMS Beagle had a profound impact on his view of primitive peoples and added to his views against slavery.
Darwin not only proposed the theory of the origin of species but liked dining on quite a few exotic ones as well.
During his time as a student at Cambridge, he formed the Glutton Club, with the sole aim of dining on exotic birds and beasts which were unknown to the human palate. He was known to have dined on hawk, armadillo, ostrich and even a puma.