On the Origin of Species

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9781841939896: On the Origin of Species

Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, published on 24 November 1859, is a work of scientific literature which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Its full title was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. For the sixth edition of 1872, the short title was changed to The Origin of Species. Darwin's book introduced the theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution. Darwin included evidence that he had gathered on the Beagle expedition in the 1830s and his subsequent findings from research, correspondence, and experimentation. Various evolutionary ideas had already been proposed to explain new findings in biology. There was growing support for such ideas among dissident anatomists and the general public, but during the first half of the 19th century the English scientific establishment was closely tied to the Church of England, while science was part of natural theology. Ideas about the transmutation of species were controversial as they conflicted with the beliefs that species were unchanging parts of a designed hierarchy and that humans were unique, unrelated to animals. The political and theological implications were intensely debated, but transmutation was not accepted by the scientific mainstream. The book was written for non-specialist readers and attracted widespread interest upon its publication. As Darwin was an eminent scientist, his findings were taken seriously and the evidence he presented generated scientific, philosophical, and religious discussion.

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Charles Robert Darwin FRS (12 February 1809 - 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist who established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.

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"The most influential book in science gets a face-lift with some amazing graphics and Quammen's erudite editing."--"Library Journal" (The Best Sci-Tech books of 2008) "The perfect way to become acquainted with the authentic voice of the greatest biologist of all time, in a context provided by one of the finest scientific writers of today." --Gregory A. Petsko, "European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Journal
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