Darwin Essay

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On the voyage of the Beagle the young Charles Darwin took a break between graduating and starting his career as a clergyman to study the natural history of South America, an interest he had developed at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Cambridge. Influenced by Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology, he became an able geologist as well as collecting plant and animal specimens, and fossils of gigantic extinct mammals. By the return journey, he was connecting patterns of geographical and historical distribution, and starting to doubt the stability of Species. In September 1838 he conceived his theory of natural selection as the cause of evolution, then as well as developing his career as a geologist and writer worked privately on finding evidence and answering possible objections, and set out his ideas in an essay written in 1844. He discussed transmutation with his friend Joseph Dalton Hooker,[1] who read the essay in 1847. After turning his attention to biology and completing eight years of work on barnacles, Darwin intensified work on his theory of species in 1854. Alfred Russel Wallace, a naturalist working in Borneo, had a paper on the "introduction" of species published in Annals and Magazine of Natural History. This made guarded comments about evolution, and in the spring of 1856 it was noticed by Lyell who drew it to the attention of Darwin who was then working out a strategy for presenting his theory. Darwin apparently mistook Wallace's meaning, writing "nothing very new... Uses my simile of tree, [but] it seems all creation with him". However, he spelt out the details of Natural Selection to Lyell, who found the idea hard to accept but urged Darwin to publish to establish priority.[2] On 14 May 1856 Darwin began what became his draft for a book titled Natural Selection. Wallace collected specimens and corresponded with Darwin from Borneo.

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