The Origin Of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition

The Origin Of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition

by Charles Darwin, Julian Huxley

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Charles Darwin’s classic that exploded into public controversy, revolutionized the course of science, and continues to transform our views of the world.

Few other books have created such a lasting storm of controversy as The Origin of Species. Darwin’s theory that species derive from other species by a gradual evolutionary process and that the average level of each species is heightened by the “survival of the fittest” stirred up popular debate to fever pitch. Its acceptance revolutionized the course of science.

As Sir Julian Huxley, the noted biologist, points out in his illuminating introduction, the importance of Darwin’s contribution to modern scientific knowledge is almost impossible to evaluate: “a truly great book, one which can still be read with profit by professional biologist.”

Includes an Introduction by Sir Julian Huxley

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101126752
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/02/2003
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 306,734
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Charles Robert Darwin was born in 1809 in Shrewsbury, England. At Cambridge University he formed a friendship with J. S. Henslow, a professor of botany, and that association, along with his enthusiasm for collecting beetles, led to “a burning zeal,” as he wrote in his Autobiography, for the natural sciences. A voyage to the Southern Hemisphere on the H.M.S. Beagle between 1831 and 1836 would lay the foundation for The Origin of Species, published in 1859. His other works include The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871) and Recollections of My Mind and Character, also titled Autobiography (1887). Charles Darwin’s Diary of the Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle was published posthumously in 1933.

Date of Birth:

February 12, 1809

Date of Death:

April 19, 1882

Place of Birth:

Shrewsbury, England

Place of Death:

London, England


B.A. in Theology, Christ¿s College, Cambridge University, 1831

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Excerpted from "The Origin of Species"
by .
Copyright © 2003 Charles Darwin.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Origin Of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book clearly explains the theory of Natural Selection. If you really want to know what Natural Selection(Evolution) really is, you need to read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book that really shows one where they are truly at in the animal kingdom. After reading the book so many things make sense that seemed unexplainable before. A wonderful display of Logic at it's best. Evolution has stood the test of time and has been proven repeatedly. The 'Theory' of evolution is not about whether evolution occured, but rather, how.
M.J.R.Feehan More than 1 year ago
This was a good book for being a required textbook. Darwin still is an incredible unique scientific literary genius. Even if not required anyone who loves science should read "The Origin" because it is an incredible well written scientific argument on a controversial topic and it has stood the time of history while staying correct.
bfertig on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm super glad to read this book - it was really enjoyable!One of the things I was struck by Darwin's writing was that it was eminently readable and was basically constructed as an essay with a prodigious amount of evidence lined up to back up the arguments made. I am impressed by his clarity in articulation that make his communication and message conveyable despite requisite nuance.The heart of this particular book is that animals and plants vary - that they are mutable over time via human control (i.e. breeding) but also do so naturally, and that selection pressures are the mechanism, and that over time variability, heredity, and selection are the underlying principles of evolution.It was quite clear that he was conscious of possible detractors - on both scientific and creationist grounds. And he readily admits that readers who simply are not already convinced of things like the vast age of the earth etc. are just not going to agree because of things like the imperfection of the geological record (which is still true, though some gaps have since been filled). This is still true today even with the accumulated knowledge of paleontology and geology due to (willful?) ignorance and/or disbelief regarding how fossils and rocks are aged.Aside from the assembly, synthesis, and description of a vast array of fascinating facts and evidence, was the ability to put forth a complicated argument fairly succinctly and then address potential detractions head on. What surprised me was that some of the things that he addressed were *still* being used as arguments against evolution of species via natural selection! For example I heard arguments by some espousing Intelligent Design talking about how the eye was something too complicated to have arisen or be selected for -- but Darwin addressed this fairly well (I thought!), noting several species that either had intermediate forms or uses for eyes and light sensitivity. The point being that for all the recent hubabaloo, we appear to be going around the same merry-go-round back and forth regarding whether or not we buy into this explanation of the natural world, without making much progress over the course of a century and a half.If you feel at all invested in the argument over evolution one way or the other, my feeling is that it's at least worth reading Darwin's original works rather than getting into a lather about bullet points that are only a poor shadow of their context.
vibrantminds on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Example after example for the explanation of life and how it has evolved. From plants to animals and everything in between. How climate and geography plays a role in the evolutionary process. He goes into many details that can be lengthy but overall a good representation of different species and their origin.
Romonko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I recommend reading of this book because of the importance of it. When Charles Darwin published this in 1859 it rocked the English speaking world. Up to that point the religious idea of creation was unquestionably accepted. Religion held a lot of power over people and their lives. Then this book came out, and it put into question all that the English world held dear about God and creation. I don't know if any piece of literature has had such a profound affect on society and its beliefs. When I read it, I thought that it might be boring because of the scope of the work, but it's actually not boring because it's simply and plainly written. Remember the whole theory of evolution originated from this one work.
talifer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
evolution has gone through many changes since darwin's original writing, but it is always good to go back to the source. darwin may not have been the first person to conceive of evolution, but he was the first to delineate it in such a complete form.
Miro on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Darwin wrote that , "When the views entertained in this volume on the origin of species, or when analogous views are generally admitted, we can dimly foresee that there will be a considerable revolution in natural history".With the advantages of hindsight we can see that this was an understatement. The book has had an enormous impact , probably appearing in the indexes of more recent academic publications than any other 19th century text.To answer the question of why, the reason is no doubt the same as when it was first published in 1859. His discovery combines simplicity with great explanatory power in an area of critical interest, namely the natural world and our place in it. In contrast to the texts of today there are no formulas and only one diagram. The chapters have quick summaries and the whole thing has an easy flowing discursive style that is very accessible despite being a distillate of a large amount of widely differing knowledge. He starts by looking at selection under domestication (i.e. not in nature) of animals, with special reference to the pigeon, showing how desired characteristics can be chosen by the breeder. In this respect after a discussion about pigeons and pigeon breeding in general, he can quote the skilled breeder Sir John Sebright as saying that, "he would produce any given feather in three years, but it would take him six years to obtain a head or a beak". He goes on to extend the idea of selection to the natural state where nature takes the place of the breeder in selecting which variants breed successfully and which do not. The controller is not now the breeder with the feather or beak that he wants but rather the environment itself. Nature allows certain birds to reproduce that have the optimum colouring to avoid predators or attract mates or a beak type that best fits the most common functions. The idea is developed in the chapters entitled Struggle for Existence and Natural Selection . As he puts it: "In the case of every species, many different checks, acting at different periods of life, and during different seasons or years, probably come into play; some one check or some few being generally the most potent, but all concurring in determining the average number or even the existence of the species". There are many examples with studies of special cases such as isolation, intercrossing, convergence and divergence of characteristics, and the competition between individuals and varieties of the same species. He clearly states that the environment is the guide : "...the structure of every organic being is related, in the most essential yet often hidden manner, to that of all other organic beings, with which it comes into competition for food or residence, or from which it has to escape, or on which it preys".He speculates on the characteristics of variation without knowing of Mendels identification of particles (genes from each parent that could be dominant or recessive). Mendel only published in 1866 with his work not being rediscovered until 1900 so Darwin leaves this as somewhat of a grey area. He observes variation and catalogues it stating that it changes in small increments over time and is subject to selection pressure.He is the first critic of his own work, highlighting for example the patchiness of the geological record :"Why does not every collection of fossil remains afford plain evidence of the gradation and mutation of forms of life?" In the event these problems are being tackled a century later reinforcing his insight of any organ or instinct arriving at it's present state through many graduated steps.The high scientific reputation and social position of Darwin (needed to launch his ideas successfully) is covered in an excellent new biography by Janet Browne entitled Voyaging.
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Very long. Difficult. Bunch of ________, in my opinion.