PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Century oleograph colour image of domestic fancy pigeon varieties. Darwin saw natural selection as operating like a human breeder to favour those inviduals whose traits best suited them for reproduction in the prevailing conditions. Darwin himself bred pigeons from 1855 and became very familiar with the literature, types and other breeders. He joined two of the London pigeon clubs and noted that behaviour, as well as appearance, could be selected for. He also believed that an ornithologist faced with any of these varieties in the wild would not hesitate to make them a different species from the ancestral stock.
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