Like many students, Charles Darwin was only intrested in topics that was intresting to
him and although his father was a doctor, Darwin was very unintrested in medicine and he also
couldnt stand the sight of surgery. He did eventually get a degree in Theology from Cambridge
University, Although Theology was a minor intrest to him. What Darwin really liked to do was
climb over hills, observe plants and animals, collecting new specimens, studying their structures,
and categorizing his findings.
In 1831, when Darwin was 22 years old, the British government sent her Majesty's ship
The Beagle on a 5 year expedition that would take them along the coastline of South America
and then onward around the world. During the trip the Beagle would carry along a naturalist to
observe and collect Geological and Biological specimens. Thanks to a recomendation from one
of Darwins old college professors, he was offered the position aboard the Beagle.
The Beagle sailed to South America, making many stops along the coast. Here Darwin
observed the plants and animals of the tropics and was stunned by the diversity of species
compared with Europe. The most significant stop the Beagle made was the Galapagos Islands
off the northwestern coast of South America. It was here that Darwin found huge populations of
Tortoises; and he found out that diffrent islands were home to diffrent types of tortoises. He
found that islands without tortoises, pricky pear cactus plants grew with their fruits spread all over
the ground. And on Islands that had lots of tortoises, the prickly pears grew really thick, tall,
bearing the fruit high above the tortoises reach. He wondered if the differences in the two plants
were from being isolated from one another on seperate islands.
In 1836, Darwin returned to England after his 5 year expedition. He became established
as one of the best naturalists of his time. But Darwin sought to prove his idea of evolution with
simple examples. Darwin maintained that seperate species evolve as a result of Natural
Selection, or survival of the fittest. Darwin never said that human beings evolved from apes. He
said that all life began with molecules acting on each other. So from the first single celled
organism all life came. One single organism, by many diffrent molecules could make many
diffrent species of animals. It was in this way that he stated Ape and Man are similar by each
having similar life beginning.
Darwin's theories caused people to begin to question where they actually came from. His
response was the book on the origin of species. In his book he addressed the concerns of the
people. He said " It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of
many kinds, with birds singing in the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms
crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms have all
been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the highes sense, being growth
with reproduction; Inheritance and Variability; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a strugle
for life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of charector and
extinction of less-improved forms. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers,
having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one, and that, whilst this planet has gone
cycling on according to the fixed laws of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most
beauthiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."
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