On the Origin of Species, published on 24 November 1859, is a work of scientific literature by Charles Darwin which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Its full title was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
In a state of nature almost every plant produces seed, and amongst animals there are very few which do not annually pair. Hence we may confidently assert, that all plants and animals are tending to increase at a geometrical ratio, that all would most rapidly stock every station in which they could any how exist, and that the geometrical tendency to increase must be checked by destruction at some period of life. Our familiarity with the larger domestic animals tends, I think, to mislead us: we see no great destruction falling on them, and we forget that thousands are annually slaughtered for food, and that in a state of nature an equal number would have somehow to be disposed of
“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 law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
In Origin of Species, Charles Darwin introduced the concept of natural selection. Natural selection is a natural process which acts to preserve and accumulate minor advantageous variations within living systems. Suppose a member of a species were to develop a functional advantage (a reptile grew wings and learned to fly: an obvious advantage his earth-bound relatives couldn't enjoy); its offspring would inherit that advantage and pass it on to future offspring.
Here, he proposed a model whereby lineages form from their ancestors by evolving different characters over relatively long periods of time. Darwin indicated that species could form by the evolution of one species splitting into two, or via a population diverging from its extant ancestor to the point it was a new species. Darwin's insights into evolution were brilliant, especially in light of their being made in the absence of genetics. Indeed, ideas about heredity and the introduction of new genetic material via mutation were to come long after Darwin's founding theories of evolution.
Different skin tones, facial features, eyes colors, hair types, etc. You could have a big dog or a small dog, a dog with long or short hair. But no kind of dog will ever produce a non-dog!
The fact that human beings and monkeys have tailbones is evidence for common ancestry precisely because tailbones are useless in humans. Contrast this with the torpedo shape that sharks and dolphins share; this similarity is useful in both groups. One might expect natural selection to cause the torpedo shape to evolve in large aquatic predators whether or not they have a common ancestor. This is why the adaptive similarity is almost valueless to the systematist who is trying to reconstruct patterns of common ancestry.
why should the species which are supposed to have been created in the Galapagos Archipelago, and nowhere else, bear so plain a stamp of affinity to those created in America? There is nothing in the conditions of life, in the geological nature of the islands, in their height or climate, or in the proportions in which the several classes are associated together, which resembles closely the conditions of the South American coast
Published on November 24, 1859, Origin of Species sold out immediately. Most scientists quickly embraced the theory that solved so many puzzles of biological science, but orthodox Christians condemned the work as heresy. Controversy over Darwin's ideas deepened with the publication of The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871), in which he presented evidence of man's evolution from apes.
By the 1850s Darwin began to prepare Origin for publication, spurred on by a letter and paper he received from Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913) that also proposed evolutionary theory and natural selection. Wallace was a naturalist who traveled to America and Borneo to collect exotic specimens and study indigenous
flora and fauna.
On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, a groundbreaking scientific work by British naturalist Charles Darwin, is 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.