Erasmus Darwin, British doctor

Erasmus Darwin, British doctor

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Credit: HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCES LIBRARY/NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), British physician and grandfather of Charles Darwin. Erasmus Darwin studied medicine at the universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge, qualifying in 1755, and working as a doctor in Lichfield for 20 years. He turned down an invitation to become personal physician to King George III. As founder of the Lunar Society, he composed many writings on science, some of which were in verse. Darwin's most famous work, Zoonomia (1796), briefly proposed a theory of evolution in response to environmental pressures, anticipating and foreshadowing the evolutionary ideas proposed later by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Charles Darwin.

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