Charles Darwin was an English geologist, naturalist, and biologist. He was born in Shrewsbury Shropshire on February 12th, 1809, at his parents’ house known as “The Mount.” Darwin’s parents were Robert Darwin and Susannah Darwin, and he was the fifth child.
Robert was a famous financier, and Susannah was a wealthy doctor, and Charles had two grandfathers; Erasmus Darwin and Josiah Wedgewood. They were both prominent slave abolitionists.
Darwin is known as one of the most influential figures in human history who contributed a lot to science, studying human evolution and natural selection. He published his Theory of Evolution, with thought-provoking evidence in 1859, known as the “The Origin of Species.” By the 1870s, the scientific community and many experts began discussing his evolution theory as a plausible idea.
Works of Charles Darwin
“The Voyage Of Beagle” and Creative Writing
Charles was an avid writer aside from his published works. He received an excellent appraisal on being the author of “The Voyage of Beagle.” He used to love writing in his spare time and was quite fond of it. The “Voyage of Beagle” was one of his first books published in 1839 as his scientific journal and contained his remarks. It was this book that resulted in him gaining significant recognition and publicity.
In 1831, Darwin accepted the offer to go on a five-year voyage aboard the HMS Beagle. One of his Cambridge professors recommended that he look into being a naturalist and accompany the captain Robert FitzRoy onboard the HMS five-year voyage.
According to him, this journey would change both his life and the path of western scientific discovery and the general thought process. Darwin explored remote regions, and he experienced the world and saw things differently from what he knew. He saw birds with blue feet, sharks with T-shaped heads, and even giant tortoises.
Darwin collected samples of plants, animals, and fossils and took many field notes on his journey. These collections and records provided him with the evidence that he needed to develop his forthcoming theory.
The journal and remarks covered Darwin’s experience in the second survey voyage of the ship HMS Beagle. Due to Darwin’s popularity, the publishers reissued the book in 1839 as “Darwin’s Journal of Researches” and its revised second edition in 1845.
Experiments On Pigeons
During his HMS Beagle journey, Darwin felt that the environment he lives in might naturally change the course of species, causing them to change over time, but he couldn’t find a way to explore this effectively along the way.
He tried experiments with artificial selection in pigeons which allowed him to study to what extent the species could change. He used artificial selection theory and crossed birds with different characteristics to generate separate and distinct offsprings.
He gathered valuable evidence for his evolution theory with the help of natural selection. According to his explanation of the change in his revolutionary book “On the Origin of Species,” artificial and natural selection are similar.
After completing his experiments, he gave all 120 of his pigeon specimens to the Museum. They became a part of the bird collections that were kept at Tring, Hertfordshire.
The Coral Atolls
Charles was also known as an excellent geologist who wrote and published an article on South America and its puzzle of forming coral atolls. He, as a biologist, also published the ultimate work on barnacles.
Charles also published a book on plants, consisting of “The Power of Movement in Plants,” which included some of his most important studies, as was his final work on “The Formation of Vegetable Mould” through the action of worms.
In short, Darwin explained how the process of nature happened and how it affected plant life in detail.
“The Origin of Species” and Evolution Theory
Charles Darwin’s early works formed the basis of what would become theories that would make him famous later on. However, his significant discoveries and ideas didn’t exist till 1859. By that time, he studied multiple books and performed various scientific studies on his own. He then presented something which was known as the “Theory of Evolution.”
Darwin’s most famous work, “Origin of Species using Natural Selection,” was published in 1859. In this book, he explained this theory of evolution for which he would be known the most.
He introduced his scientific theory in a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace, stating that this evolution’s branching pattern resulted from a process that was known as natural selection. The theory suggested that the struggle of existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.
Initially, people did not like the explanation of this theory of natural selection. It was not until the 1930s to 1950s that people realized the weight of Darwin’s argument on evolution and that natural selection was evolution’s primary mechanism.
Darwin’s main argument was that all living species like human beings developed and evolved over time, modifying themselves to suit their times and the environment. He didn’t think of life being different from ancestry but rather as a single tree, branching, and re-branching itself. He believed that the characteristics and qualities shared by living beings could be explained with the help of their shared ancestry.
In this book, Charles Darwin also included the evidence he got from the Beagle expedition in the 1830s and his later findings from research, correspondence, and experiments.
“The Descent of a Man and Selection In Relation to Sex”
Darwin published this book on February 24th, 1871. The book explains the theory of evolution among humans and providing details on the theory of sexual selection as well, which is related to natural selection.
The book entailed many theories concerning the evolution of humans, plants and animals, and natural selection regarding sexual aspects and its impact on a person’s social life and community. The ideas presented in the book faced a lot of criticism, especially by his co-partner and discoverer of natural selection, Albert Wallace.
“The Expression of Emotions in Man”
“The Expression of Emotions in Man” is another of Charles’s significant works on evolutionary theory. It was originally a chapter in The Descent of Man, and it grew in length and was published separately in 1872. This book is about the biological aspects of emotional life. He explores human characteristics and their animal origins and provides a different, unique, and confusing concept.
A German translation of this book was done in 1872, whereas Dutch and French versions came out in 1874. The book’s second edition was published in 1890 and with minor alterations. Since its first publication, it has never run out and is also known as Darwin’s forgotten masterpiece.
Charles Darwin was diagnosed with a disease known as “Angina Pectoris,” which meant coronary thrombosis and heart disease. During his death, the physicians diagnosed “anginal attacks” and “heart failure.”
Darwin might have been suffering from chronic Chagas disease, which is rumored that according to his journal entry, he described that he was bitten by what he called a kissing bug in Mendoza, Argentina, in 1835.
The symptoms he showed included those of cardiac condition, which is an indication of chronic Chagas disease. An autopsy was conducted of Darwin’s body which confirmed the state of infection by detecting infecting parasite. It was known as “Trypanosoma Cruzi,” which caused Chagas disease, resulting in Darwin’s death due to heart failure.
On April 19th, 1882, he passed away in his home, which he called “Downhouse,” in Kent and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Charles Darwin – A Revolutionary Man
Charles Darwin is best known for his contributions to the science of evolution and changed how human beings’ evolution was perceived. It explained how humans evolved to what they are now and how life works and is related to nature and surroundings.
Overall, looking at his life, he proved to be one of the most capable and intellectual men of history who helped science uncover more of the world’s mysteries.