Charles Darwin

Here we listed out important facts about famous scientist Charles Darwin, with his Biography, Profile, Facts, Timeline, Awards, Achievement, etc.,

Born: 12 February 1809, The Mount, Shrewsbury
Died: 19 April 1882, Down House, Downe, United Kingdom
Awards: Royal Medal, Wollaston Medal, Copley Medal
Spouse: Emma Wedgwood (m. 1839)
Children: Anne Darwin, George Darwin, Francis Darwin, more (10 children)
Notable awards: FRS (1839), Royal Medal (1853), Wollaston Medal (1859), Copley Medal (1864)
Fields: Natural history, geology
Known for: The Voyage of the Beagle, On the Origin of Species

  • The English naturalist Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882) discovered that natural selection was the agent for the transmutation of organisms during evolution, as did Alfred Russel Wallace in the independently. Darwin presented his theory in “Origin of Species”.
  • The concept of evolution by descent dates at least from classical Greek philosophers.
  • In the 18th century Carl Linnaeus postulated limited mutability of species by descent and hybridization.
  • Charles Darwin’s grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, and the Chevalier de Lamarck were the chief proponents of evolution about 1800.
  • Such advocacy had little impact on the majority of naturalists, concerned to identify species, the stability of which was considered essential for their work.
  • Natural theology regarded the perfection of adaptation between structure and mode of life in organisms as evidence for a benefit, all-seeing , all-planning Creator.
  • Organic structure, planned in advance for a preordained niche, was unchanged from the moment of creation. Variation in structure in these earthly imperfect versions of the Creator’s idea were minor and impermanent.
  • In 1815 William Smith had demonstrated sequence of fossil populations in time. Charles Lyell, adopting James Hutton’s uniformitarian view that present conditions and process were clues to the past history of the earth, wrote his Principles of Geology (1830-1833), which Darwin on his Beagle circumnavigation found most apt for his own geological observation.
  • Fossils in South America and apparent anomalies of animal distribution triggered the task for Darwin of assembling a vast range of material. A reading of Thomas Malthus’s Essay on the Principle of Population in 1838 completed Darwin’s conceptual scheme.
  • Critics, for whom the Origin is paramount among Darwin’s considerable output, have accused him of vacillation and procrastination.
  • But recent study of unpublished manuscripts and his entire works reveal a continuity of purpose and integrity of effort to establish the high probability of the genetic relationship through descent in all forms of life.
  • Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, at Shrewsbury, the fifth child of Robert and Susannah Darwin. His mother, who was the daughter of the famous potter Josiah Wedgwood, died when Charles was 8, and he was reared by his sisters.
  • He attended John Stevens Henslow’s course in botany, started a collection of beetles that became famous, and read widely.
  • William Palay’s Natural Theology (1802) delighted Darwin by its clear logical presentation, and he later regarded this study as the most worthwhile benefit from Cambridge. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1831.
  • On Henslow’s recommendation Darwin was offered the position of naturalist for the second voyage of H.M.S. Beagle to survey the coast of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego and complete observations of longitude by circumnavigation with a formidable array of chronometers.
  • The Beagle left on Dec. 27, 1831, and returned on Oct. 2, 1836. During the voyage Darwin spent 535 days at sea and roughly 1200 on land.
  • Darwin kept his field observations in notebooks with the specimens listed serially and their place and time of collection documented.
  • On July 24, 1834, he wrote, “My notes are becoming bulky. I have about 600 small quarto pages full; about half of this is Geology the other imperfect descriptions of animals; with the latter I make it a rule to describe those parts which cannot be seen in specimens in sprits.
  • Toward the end of the voyage, when sea passages were long, he copied his notes and arranged them to accord with systematic, concentrating on range and habits.
  • Geology was prepared with fewer inhibitions; he wrote from Mauritius in April 1836,”It is a rare piece of good fortune for me that of many errant (in ships) Naturalists there have been few, or rather no, Geologists. I shall enter the field unopposed.”
  • During the trip Darwin discovered the relevance of Lyell’s uniformitarian views to the structure of St. Jago (Cape Varde Islands). He found that small locally living forms closely resembled large terrestrial fossil mammals embedded between marine shell layers and that the local sea was populated with living occupants of similar shells.
  • He also observed the overlapping distribution on the continuous Patagonian plaib of two closely related but distinct species of ostrich.

Charles Darwin

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