Mr. Charles Darwin A most brilliant man.
Charles Robert Darwin • Born to a wealthy family in Shrewsbury, England on February 12, 1809. • His father wanted him to be a doctor. But Charles did not. • He preferred studying nature, and wanted to be a naturalist.
The Beagle • Convinced his father to let him go on the H.M.S. Beagle. • Five year journey as the ship’s naturalist. • Ship left England in 1831. • Charles was merely 21 years old.
Darwin saw many things along the way: • Like a good scientist, he took copious notes and made detailed sketches. • He studied the tremendous diversity of life. • He collected countless specimens. • He collected and studied fossils and rocks. • He was particularly fascinated by the variety of life on the Galapagos Islands.
Galapagos Islands • Darwin observed many birds, iguanas, tortoises, plants on the islands. • Noticed similarities and differences to mainland species. • Also noticed similarities and differences between the various Galapagos Islands. • Darwin was especially impressed with the different beaks on the finches of the islands.
Darwin wondered how the shape of the finches beaks could match so perfectly with what they ate.
Charles Darwin spent the next twenty years of his life working out his ideas, and developing his explanation for how life evolves on Earth.He also collected evidence to back his theory from many places and many people, such as this...
Selective Breeding - Darwin learned about selective breeding from plant and animal breeders. • Geology – Darwin learned that the Earth is much older than previously believed, and that it has been changing constantly (Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology) • Populations – Darwin learned that populations tend to overproduce, and many individuals die from starvation, disease, predation, and so on (Thomas Malthus, Essay on the Principle of Population)
All together, this helped him to develop his brilliant idea called Natural Selection.Here’s how it works… • Overproduction – populations make many more offspring than can survive. • Genetic Variation – due to genes, individuals in a population vary slightly from one and other. • Competition / Struggle to Survive – individuals in a population are all competing to survive. • Survival and Reproduction – those individuals who are best adapted stand the best chance of surviving, reproducing, and passing on those traits that helped them to survive.
In 1859, Charles Darwin published his book, which described his theory to the world. • It is called: On The Origin of Species (by Means of Natural Selection) • Considered one of the greatest and most important books ever written. • He published it because he’d heard that his friend Alfred Russell Wallace, who had a very similar theory, was also planning to publish his book! Charles wanted the credit. He got it.
Here is a short video (6:50) about Charles Darwin by Bill Nye the Science Guy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPghdBIGW9g&feature=BFa&list=PL7C0B7D5EECAA7D65
And here’s another one (6:38) about Darwin and his theory of evolution by means of Natural Selection • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmphlbRhLu8