Charles Darwin


Like many students, Charles Darwin was only interested in topics that was interesting
to him and although his father was a doctor, Darwin was very uninterested in
medicine and he also couldn't stand the sight of surgery. He did eventually get
a degree in Theology from Cambridge University, Although Theology was a minor interest
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."