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Frontis Malthus Principle of Population

Frontis Malthus Principle of Population

C011/0902

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Credit

PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Frontis plate from the 1826 Sixth edition of Malthus "Principle of Population". This is the edition which was read by Charles Darwin and which he records as crucial to his theory of natural selection in his 1876 autobiography: "In October 1838, that is, fifteen months after I had begun my systematic enquiry, I happened to read for amusement Malthus on Population, and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. The results of this would be the formation of a new species. Here then I had at last got a theory by which to work".

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