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Key terms
February 23, 2015 ● page 1 of 1
Charles Darwin, 1809–1882
natural selection (1857): “a natural process
that results in the survival and
reproductive success of individuals or
groups best adjusted to their
environment and that leads to the
perpetuation of genetic qualities best
suited to that particular environment”
On the Origin of Species by Means of
Natural Selection (London, 1859)
Darwinism (1864): “a theory of the origin
and perpetuation of new species of
animals and plants that offspring of a
given organism vary, that natural
selection favors the survival of some of
these variations over others, that new
species have arisen and may continue to
arise by these processes, and that widely
divergent groups of plants and animals
have arisen from the same ancestors”
survival of the fittest: natural selection;
Herbert Spencer coined the term
(Principles of Biology [London, 1864])
The Descent of Man and Selection in
Relation to Sex (2 vols., London, 1871)
social Darwinism (1887): “an extension of
Darwinism to social phenomena;
specifically: a sociological theory that
sociocultural advance is the product of
intergroup conflict and competition and
the socially elite classes (as those
possessing wealth and power) possess
biological superiority in the struggle for