THEORY PUBLISHED ON THIS DAY IN 1859

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On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, a groundbreaking
scientific work by British naturalist Charles Darwin, was published in
England. Darwin’s theory argued that organisms gradually evolve through
a process he called “natural selection.” In natural selection, organisms
with genetic variations that suit their environment tend to propagate more descendants than organisms of the same species that lack the variation,
thus influencing the overall genetic makeup of the species.

Darwin, who was influenced by the work of French naturalist Jean-Baptiste
de Lamarck and the English economist Thomas Mathus, acquired most of
the evidence for his theory during a five-year surveying expedition aboard
the HMS Beagle in the 1830s. Visiting such diverse places as the Galapagos
Islands and New Zealand, Darwin acquired an intimate knowledge of the
flora, fauna, and geology of many lands. This information, along with his
studies in variation and interbreeding after returning to England, proved
invaluable in the development of his theory of organic evolution.


Charles Robert Darwin (February 12, 1809 – April 19, 1882)  

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