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Charles Darwin Biography (Charles Robert Darwin) : Naturalist
Famous for : His writings on the evolution of man and the controversy it created with christianity. Important works by Darwin include "The Voyage of the Beagle" and "On The Origin of Species".
Darwin details : Born - 12th of February, 1809 England, United Kingdom / Died 19th of April, 1882 England

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Charles Darwin Bio

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Charles Darwin became famous when he hypothesized that all life evolved from common ancestors through evolutionary processes of natural selection. His studies aboard the ship Beagle lasted five years after which time he published his journals and solidified his theories on evolution in 1938. His book, On the Origin of Species, along with his journals and theories, have served as a solid foundation for evolutionary science all over the world.

Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809 in Shropshire, England to Susannah Darwin and Robert Darwin, a wealthy doctor. Darwin was the fifth of six children and grew up in a largely Unitarian household. Although he was baptized in the Anglican Church, Darwin spent his early childhood studying in the Unitarian Church until his mother died in 1817 at which point he began attending boarding school at the Anglican Shrewsbury School.

At the age of 14, Darwin shadowed his father for a summer, serving as an apprentice while his father treated the poor of Shropshire. In the fall of 1925, after finishing his studies with his father, Darwin began attending the University of Edinburgh in hopes of following in his fathers footsteps. Medicine, however, did not come easily to Darwin and he was appalled at the surgical elements of the trade and began neglecting his studies. He began studying taxidermy instead and, in his second year, Darwin changed his focus to natural history.

Darwin became an enthusiastic student of evolutionary theories and the homologous traits of mammals. At the time, the idea of related mammalian species was considered radical but Darwin embraced it and eagerly set out to make his own discoveries in the field.

Unimpressed with his son's choice of studies, Darwin's father enrolled him in Christ's College at Cambridge with hopes of getting Darwin to become a member of the clergy. Although Darwin stayed at Christ's College, he still preferred the study of nature over the study of theology and found a good friend and mentor in the Reverend John Stevens Henslow who was a professor of botany and from whom Darwin shared mutual admiration for the collection of beetles. Darwin passed his finals in 1831, having spent most of his time studying nature and barely scraping by in his academics.

After his graduation, Charles Darwin hoped to take a trip to the tropics to study natural history with some of his classmates. Henslow, however, decided to surprise Darwin by recommending him as an unpaid companion to Robert FitzRoy aboard a ship called the HMS Beagle. The journey was to take two years and planned to chart the coast of South America. Although Darwin's father initially disagreed, he eventually allowed young Darwin to sail aboard the Beagle.

The voyage of the Beagle lasted five years, two thirds of which Darwin spent on land. He made lengthy observations about geological formations as well as plant and animal species and he sent many samples back to Cambridge along with his notes and theories on the samples. These observations, along with his samples, notes, and journals, helped establish Darwin as a knowledgeable naturalist. Through his continued reading of various books on nature, geology, and evolution combined with his observations of plants and animals, Darwin began developing his own ideas about species and the connections between different animals. His ideas blossomed even more after he visited the Galapagos islands and noticed the slight variations between common bird and tortoise species on different islands.

Charles Darwin's observations of different cultures and customs also gave him new insights into the human species. After watching "educated" natives return to their home land and prefer the basic lifestyles of their ancestors rather than the English, "civilized", way of life, Darwin began to rationalize that not only are all humans more alike than different, but we may be more closely related to animals than previously thought.

Although Darwin had been at sea for years, his fame back in England had grown. Henslow and other naturalists had fueled interest in the specimens Darwin had sent back as part of his studies. By the time Darwin returned to England on October 2, 1836, he was already a celebrity in the scientific community. He managed to amass a following of supportive scientists eager to help him dissect and analyze his samples and findings. Although he ran into a number of scientists from oppositional points of view, Charles Darwin continued to work on his theories of evolution and began creating more complex theories in geology and soil science.

He began to overwork and fell victim to heart, stomach and stress-related illnesses. Darwin rested for a short time in order to regain his health, but his enthusiasm for his studies and inability to find proper rest kept him symptomatic for the rest of his life. He eventually became the Secretary of the Geological Society in England while finishing his writings about the voyages of the Beagle and working diligently on finalizing his findings on earthworms and evolutionary theories. Although he was always working, Darwin decided that marriage was a good idea and proposed to his cousin, Emma Wedgewood, a worldly and cultured woman who had been part of his restoration to health.

Darwin's most famous book On the Origin of Species became an instant success when booksellers agreed to sell it in 1859. Although there was some opposition to the work, the book gained massive public interest throughout the scientific and public communities. Older scientists and theologians rejected the work while younger generations of naturalists embraced Darwin's ideas. He continued to study and write for the remainder of his life, eventually publishing a series of books including The Descent of Man, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, and The Power of Movement in Plants.

Charles Darwin died on April 19, 1882 in Kent, England and was giving a state funeral as a tribute to his contributions to science and society. He is buried at Westminster Abbey in London.

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Charles Darwin Quotes Charles Darwin Quotes

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
Charles Darwin - Knowledge - Change - Strength
- Survival - Evolution - Intelligent

In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.
Charles Darwin - Struggle - Change - Strength - Winning - Competition - Success - Survival - Evolution

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