Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin 1868

Charles Robert Darwin (* 12. February 1809 in The Mount (a part of Shrewsbury), England, † 19. April 1882 in Downe (belongs today to London Bromley)) a British natural scientist was and is considered asone of the most important scientists at all.

Charles Darwin developed and publicised, independently and nevertheless together with Alfred trunk Wallace, the theory of a natural principle of the evolution by gradual variation and natural selection. She explains the slow fragmentation of the organismsinto many different kinds as consequence of adjustments to the habitat. From this theory nowadays all modern evolution theories are derived . See also Darwinismus.

Table of contents


youth and training (1809-1831)

the seven-year-old Charles Darwin (1816)

Darwin in Shrewsbury, England was born as the fifth of six children and as a second son in a land small town. Parents were Robert and Susannah Darwin, its grandfathers thatKunstkeramiker Josiah Wedgwood and the scientist Erasmus Darwin. Already as a boy concerned Charles itself with natural history.

Darwin visited the Shrewsbury School for Boys, before their old building in the city centre, which accommodates today the public library, it as statue upa chair sitting thront. After the school Darwin studied medicine in Edinburgh starting from 1825. There it was affected by Robert Edmund Grant, a trailer Lamarcks. Because of its dislike against dissecting and the cruel conditions with operations totime at that time the Narkose was not invented yet - it broke its study off 1827 .

Its father did not write it in Cambridge for theology, since he feared because of the study abort, from his son could anything become. He hoped thatCharles would become once ministers. The theology study was at the time at that time a usual career for nature-inspired humans, a circumstance, which should change later - not least by Darwin themselves -.

In Cambridge Darwin studied conscientiously also thosetheological literature, particularly inspired it however biology. It became of scientists such as William Whewell, Adam Sedgwick and John of Stevens Henslow for the natural sciences, like e.g. Geology inspires. In addition, it collected gladly beetle, one already beforePassion, to which he came by its cousin William Darwin Fox. Darwin terminated its study at the Christian college of the University of Cambridge with the exam.

Beagle (1831-1836)

Die Stationen von Charles Darwins Weltumsegelung an Bord der HMS Beagle von von 1831 bis 1836.
the stations of Charles Darwins Weltumsegelung on board the HMS Beagle of of 1831until 1836.

Darwin wanted to visit larva Irish Republican Army with some study colleagues after the conclusion of the study, but this plan was not carried out. Henslow however recommended it as a companion for Robert Fitzroy, the captain of the HMS Beagle, to a five-year-oldExpedition (1831 - 1836) to break open should, in order to map the coastal line of South America. Before the departure Darwin spent still a few weeks with Sedgwick and investigated rock formations in Wales. Apart from a few lectures in Edinburgh was thisup to then its only geological studies.

At the end of December 1831 was then so far it: the Beagle stung in the port of Devonian haven (England) in lake. During the five-year travel Darwin divided a cab with Fitzroy.

Its work during the expedition permittedit it to examine both the geological characteristics of continent and islands as well as a multiplicity from organisms and fossils to. On the journey it visited the Cape Verdian islands, the Falklandinseln, the South American coast, the Galápagos islands and Australia anda large number of samples collected. The questions to Flora and fauna of the visited areas, which Darwin placed itself while driving, were the starting point for the evolution theory, which should make it later world-famous.

Career and beginnings of the theory (1836-1839)

1836, after its return, analyzed Darwin the collected pieces and noticed similarities between fossils and still living animals in the same geographical region. In particular it was noticeable itself it that each island their own turtles - and had kinds of bird,easily from each other in appearance, nutrition etc. distinctive, otherwise however were quite similar.

Particularly with the copies of the Galápagos islands that was to be seen clear. Darwin developed the theory that z. B. all the different turtle kinds of only one kind descended andto the different living conditions of the different islands had adapted.

On this thoughts he formulated his considerations constructing to change and development of the kinds in its Notebook on the Transmutation OF Species. They stood in conformity with Lyells PrinciplesOF Geology and Thomas's Robert Malthus ` essay on the Principle OF population. Malthus was the opinion that the population grows faster than the food production and therefore by hunger emergencies in her number is limited.

Malthus had come to the conclusion,that the population in geometrical row (…) rises, resources (food) however only in arithmetic row (…). The dark result of it were for Malthus hunger emergencies and population of over (Wuketits, Franz M.: Charles Darwin. The quiet revolutionary, o.Aufl. Munich - Zurich 1987).

Marriage and children

Charles Darwin 1854, 45 Jahre alt
Charles Darwin 1854, 45 years old

Darwin married 1839 its cousin Emma Wedgwood. After some years in London they finally pulled into the down House in the small locality Downe (county Kent). Today the house is an important object of interest of the place. The Darwins had ten children, from whom three deceased early. It points some on the fact that Darwins son Charles Waring (*12.1856 - † 06,1858) with a down syndrome (Trisomie 21) bornbecame. Darwin described its youngest child, with whom on a photography characteristic characteristics of the handicap are to be recognized, with the words:“It is small for its age and retarded when running and speaking. It has an unusually dear, content andmerry kind, but is mentally not very much developed. “ (see. Stensma, David P.: Blood, 15. March 2005, volume 105, NUMBER 6). The child was born, when its nut/mother was already 48 years old. This speaks likewise for the acceptance thatCharles Waring a boy with down syndrome was, because this syndrome steps frequently up on with advanced age of the child nut/mother.

One the Urururenkel of Charles Darwin is a Filmschauspieler Skandar Keynes.

The emergence of corral reefs

1842 published Darwin the writing „overthe building and the spreading of the corral reefs “. Darwin explains the emergence of the often circle-similarly arranged reefs by the fact that on a volcano when slow dropping of the sea-bottom last only around its Krater Korallen grow - these can onlyin a certain depth survive. While the volcano continues to drop always, the Korallen grow gradually into the depth range under the water surface, within which they probably-feel, so that the whole thing remains also then still at the sea surface, ifthe mountain, which carries it, for the eye disappeared already completely. This work justified Darwins call as a scientist. Darwin follows the thought of the Aktualismus and the Historisierung of nature for the first time in this work. Both becomes it also in thatEmergence of the kinds up to its last work over the formation of the plough land any longer do not leave: small also today observable changes lead in large periods to large changes.

Development of the theory (1839-1859)

between 1839 and 1843 became Darwins Zoology OFthe Voyage OF H.M.S. Beagle in five volumes publishes.

1842 wrote Darwin down its theory in a short draft, from which he developed 240 sides until 1844 a comprehensive essay, an extended version of its earlier ideas over the natural selection.Between 1844 and 1858 he modified the theory often, without publishing it however ever.

Already for a long time Darwin stood in loose exchange of letters with Alfred trunk Wallace, which stayed around 1858 in Ternate. This had already 1855 inone - unfortunately little considered - essay with the title „on the Law has regulated the introduction OF new Species “ the continuity of the kinds yielded „in space and time “recognized and thus the attention of Lyell and Darwin excited. Wallacefrom Ternate the essay readdressed „on the Tendency OF Varieties ton to it depart indefinitely from the original type “, in which it stated all principles of the adaptation by variation and selection („struggle for existence “), those its opinionare necessary for the evolution, and saw themselves pushed on it for publication. It decided, instead of bringing the originally planned more-restrained monumental work an individual book out.

Publication of the theory (1859)

at the 1. July 1859 became Darwins writing over the origin of the kindsby means of the natural selection or the preservation of preferential races in the fight for the life before the royal Linné society read out, on the same day as also a writing independently of Alfred trunk Wallace, that of Darwin a similar theory (“SurvivalOF the fit test had developed ").

Darwins book concerning the origin of the kinds, with exactly the same title as the lecture, was published one year later and encountered so large interest that the existence of the publishing house already on the first daywere completely sold to the book shops.

In its later books The variation OF Animals and Plants Under Domestication (1868), The the cent OF one, and Selection in relation ton of Sex (1871) and The Expression OF emotion inAnimals and one (1872) continued to implement Darwin many topics, which he had presented in “origin of the kinds”.

Reactions (1858-1882)

the entire first edition „of the Origin OF the Species “was within a daily sells off. Despite some initial criticismDarwins work in the scientific world was recognized.1839 it became member of the Royal Society and 1878 member in the French counterpart, the French Academy of Sciences.

1875 it published its work Insectivorous plants, with which it proved that numerousPlants carnivorous are. Thus it overcame Linnés dogma of the Widernatürlichkeit of such kinds. Insectivorous plants is to today a standard work to the topic.

Death and Nachleben (starting from 1882)

Darwin died to 19. April 1882 at the age of 73 years in Downeand became to 26. April in the Westminster Abbey bestattet.

In the year 2000 its picture on the British 10 Pound was printed - note and replaced with it Charles of thickening. A reason is to have been that Darwins beard only heavilyto falsify is.


Darwin represented four hypotheses, on which its evolution theory is developed:

  1. Variability: The world is not constant, but is subject to a continuous change process.
  2. Common descent: All organisms descend by a continuous bypass process from common ancestors.
  3. Gradualnessthe evolution: The evolution takes place always gradually and not in jumps.
  4. Natural selection: The best adapted individuals witness at most descendant, thus bad adjustment are displaced. Alterations, which are neither favourable nor from disadvantage, become from thisProcess does not affect.

These hypotheses are based on three conclusions from the following acceptance:

  1. All kinds possess such a potential fertility that their population size would increase exponentially, if all individuals would again successfully reproduce themselves.
  2. A population is normally to a large extent stable.
  3. Thosenatural resources are limited, but relatively constant.
  4. Two individuals of a kind are never alike. Thus a large variability results within a population.
  5. A large part of the variability is hereditary.


  • It results 4.1 from the facts that under thatTo take place and only one part of the descendants must outlive individuals of a population a fight around the existence can.
  • 4.2 surviving effected in the fight around the existence not coincidentally, separates depends to a large extent on the hereditary constitution of the survivors individuals.This unequal surviving is a natural selection process.
  • The natural selection leads 4.3 in the process of generations to the gradual alteration of the population, D. h. to the evolution and production of new kinds.

In the sense from Darwin become thus for example sometime once by accident giraffes born, which have long necks and whose skin looks in such a way like a loamy soil, but thus burst in the dryness, that this coincidental change an advantage in the fight for security (camouflage) and raw materials (water in shallow puddles andTo river courses) represents, survives completely simply only those, which developed themselves further in the most favorable kind, and so can one the completion of the organisms also without the intervention of a God explain itself.

There Darwin its conceptions with itself at that time developing Social viennaism also saw transferred to social conflicts, tried it from it in some late works to dissociate itself. Thus it stresses OF one in the cent: Moral abilities are to be classified more highly than intellectual. Moral characteristics experience a direct or indirect progress farmore by influencing habit, reason, guidance, religion etc. because by the natural selection.


  • Narrative OF the Surveying Voyages OF Majesty' s Ships `Adventure' and `Beagle' between ago the years 1826 and 1836, describing their examination OF the Southernshores OF South America, and the `Beagle' s' circumnavigation OF the globe. (1839)
  • The Structure and distribution OF Coral Reefs. Being the roofridge part OF the Geology OF the Voyage OF the Beagle.(1842) German: Over the building and the spreadingthe corral reefs.
  • Geological observations on Coral Reefs, Volcanic Iceland, and on South America: being the Geology OF the Voyage OF the Beagle, more under the COMMANDs OF Capt. FitzRoy, during the Years 1832-36. (1842-1846)
  • Journal OF Researches into the Natural Historyand Geology OF the countries visited during the Voyage OF H.M.S. `Beagle' round the world, more under the COMMANDs OF Captain Fitz Roy, R.N. (1845) German:
  • A mono graph OF the fossil Lepadidae; or, Pedunculated Cirripedes OF Great Britain. (1851)
  • A mono graph OFthe Sub class Cirripedia, with Figures OF all the Species. The Lepadidae; or, Pedunculated Cirripedes. (1851)
  • A mono graph on the fossil Balanidæ and Verrucidæ OF Great Britain. (1854)
  • Mono graph OF the Sub class Cirripedia, with Figures OF all the Species. The Balanidae(or Sessile Cirripedes); the Verrucidae, etc. (1854)
  • The emergence of the kinds (on the origin OF of species by means OF natural selection or the preservation OF favoured races into the struggle for would run., 1859)
  • On the various contrivances bywhich British and foreign orchids acres fertilised by insects. (1862)
  • The variation OF animals and plants more under domestication. (1868)
  • The the cent OF one and selection in relation ton sex. (1871) German: The descent of humans
  • The expression OF the emotionin one and animals. (1872) German: The expression of the emotions with humans and the animals. Frankfurt (2000) ISBN 3-8218-4188-5
  • The movements and habits OF climbing plants. (1875)
  • Insectivorous plants. (1875)
  • The effects OF CROSS and self fertilisation into the vegetablekingdom. (1876)
  • A biographical sketch OF infant on Mind, 2, 285-294 (1877)
  • The difference form OF flowers on plants OF the same of species. (1877)
  • The power OF movement in plants. (1880) German: The motivity of the plants
  • The formation OF vegetablemould, through the action OF worms. (1881) German: The formation of the field earth by the activity of the worms.


  • Johannes Hemleben: Charles Darwin. Rowohlt, Reinbek 2004. ISBN 3-499-50137-6
  • Irving Stone: The creation marvelous ways.The life of the Charles Darwin. Rowohlt,Reinbek 2005.ISBN 3-499-23864-0
  • Franz M. Wuketits: Darwin and the Darwinismus. Munich 2005. ISBN 3-406-50881-2
  • Jörg sheet metal, Rafaela of Bredow, Johann Grolle: Darwins work, God contribution. The mirror 52/2005, S. 136 - 147 (2005), ISSN 0038-7452 (here it goesaround of Americas of conservative attitude in relation to the realizations Darwins)

a surprising interpretation to Darwins discovery of the evolution theory is in history:

  • The fight around the existence - Charles Darwin develops the theory of the evolution. In: World history in stories.Peppering castle 2004, S.115-123.To ISBN 3-401-05442-2

see also

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