Charles Darwin is celebrating his 207th birthday today!

Today, Philosophical Library celebrates and would like to wish a happy 207th birthday to Charles Darwin. Born in England on February 12, 1809, Charles was the fifth child of Robert, a wealthy doctor, and Susannah Darwin. Known for his contributions to the theory of evolution, Charles began his academic career working alongside his father as an apprentice doctor treating the poor. He began studying at the University of Edinburgh Medical School in 1825, though his interest in the field, much to his father’s distaste, had faded. By his second year of medical school, Charles joined a natural history group. His enthusiasm for his studies remained dim until he pursued an interest in beetle collecting and received credit for his collection by having some of his findings published in Illustrations of British Entomology.

By December of 1831, Charles Darwin journeyed to South America after being invited on an expedition by ship known as the HMS Beagle. The next five years were spent investigating the land’s physical features and adding to his natural history collections. He noted his findings, theories and observations carefully in his journal and collected specimens that he sent back to Cambridge.

Through years of investigation and analysis, Charles Darwin had developed a theory that all living things evolved from a common ancestor as well as the scientific theory of natural selection. In 1859, he published his theory of evolution in his book titled On the Origin of Species, where he writes of his research on an array of creatures living on the Galapagos Islands and proposes that species evolve over time through a process called natural selection. Years later in 1872, Charles Darwin published another work titled The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals where he explores the origins of behavior and emotions and the characteristics that can be seen when displaying certain behaviors and emotions. Darwin theorizes that these traits may be inherited through evolution as they appear to be universal in both humans and animals. In sharing his findings after years of extensive research, his theories have become a widely known and documented part in the scientific community. To learn more or purchase these titles, please click here.

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