Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin

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English naturalist, born February 12, 1809 in Shrewsbury. Robert Darwin, his father, was a Physicist, the son of Erasmus Darwin, a poet, philosopher, and naturalist. Charles's mother Susannah Wedgood Darwin died when he was just eight years old.

At sixteen, Darwin left Sherewsbury to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Repelled by surgical practices without anesthesia (still unknown at the time), Darwin leaves for Cambridge University with the goal (imposed by his father) to become a clergyman of the Church of England.

Religious life does not please Darwin, and on December 31, 1831 he accepts the invitation to become a member of a scientific expedition aboard the Beagle ship. Thus, Darwin spends five years (1831 to 1836) navigating the Pacific coast and South America. During this period, the Beagle landed on nearly every major continent and island as it went around the world, including Brazil.

Darwin had been called upon to perform the duties of geologist, botanist, zoologist, and man of science. This trip was a fundamental preparation for his subsequent life as a researcher and writer. So much so that in the introduction of his book he refers thus: "The geological relations that exist between the extinct fauna of southern America, as well as certain facts concerning the distribution of the organized beings that populate this continent, deeply impressed me when I traveled aboard the Beagle as a naturalist. These facts ( …) Seem to shed some light on the origin of the species… I thought that by patiently accumulating all the data on this subject and examining it from every point of view, I could perhaps elucidate this question. ”.

Wherever he went, Darwin gathered large collections of rocks, plants and animals (fossil and living) sent to his homeland. Immediately upon his return to England, Darwin began a notebook of evolution, gathering data on the variation of species, thus taking the first steps towards Origin of Species. In the beginning the great conundrum was to explain the appearance and disappearance of species.

Thus, several questions arose in his mind: why did species originate? Why did they change over time, differentiate into numerous types, and often disappear from the world altogether?
The key to the mystery Darwin found casually in Malthus's "Essay on Population".
After that, he was born to the famous Darwinian doctrine of natural selection1, the struggle for survival or the survival of the fittest - the cornerstone of the Origin of Species.
The research done by the naturalist during Beagle's trip aboard was the basis for his Evolution theory, serving as the basis for the famous book Origin of Species, whose original English title is On The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection. The work was published in 1859, under the bombardment of controversy - which was (is) very natural: Darwin was (is) changing the contemporary belief about the creation of life on Earth.

In the book Origin of Species, Darwin defends two main theories: that of biological evolution - all species of plants and animals that live today are descended in more primitive ways - and that evolution occurs by "natural selection." The basic principles of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, presented in the Origin of Species, are almost universally accepted in the scientific world; although there are controversies around them.

The Origin of Species demonstrates the action of the principle of natural selection by preventing population growth. Some individuals of a species are stronger, may run faster, are smarter, more immune to disease, more sexually aggressive, or better able to withstand the rigors of the weather than their peers. These will survive and reproduce, while the weak will perish. Over the course of many millennia, variations have led to the creation of essentially new species.

Following the publication of his most famous work, Darwin continues to write and publish works in the field of biology throughout his life. He lives with his wife and children in Downe, a village 50 miles from London. Suffering from panic disorder and Chagas disease, the last acquired during his trip across South America. Death arrives on April 19, 1882. Charles Darwin is buried in Westminster Abbey.


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