VOLKER STEGER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY VOLKER STEGER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Charles Darwin. Portrait of Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882), British naturalist, aged 40. Darwin studied medicine and theology, but his real interest was in natural history. In 1831, he joined the HMS Beagle as a naturalist on a five- year voyage around the world. This provided the data for his revolutionary book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859). In this work, he suggested that natural variation in a species creates a variety of individual traits, some more useful than others. Competition to survive causes favourable traits to survive and so a species evolves. His ideas were opposed by the Church, but have now largely been accepted.
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