Monday, November 24, 2008

Anniversary: The Origin of Species

On this day in 1859 Charles Darwin's seminal work, The Origin of Species was published. It is also worth noting that Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day, February 12, 1809. That's a lot of pressure for anyone born February 12th. An excerpt from Darwin's introduction to The Origin of Species follows:
WHEN on board H.M.S. 'Beagle,' as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the organic beings inhabiting South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts, as will be seen in the latter chapters of this volume, seemed to throw some light on the origin of species — that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers. On my return home, it occurred to me, in 1837, that something might perhaps be made out on this question by patiently accumulating and reflecting on all sorts of facts which could possibly have any bearing on it.