Charles Darwin 1809-1882 Charles Darwin Son of a physician Studied medicine – not his thing! Became a minister Real interest in nature and collecting specimen. Earned a position on the HMS Beagle as a Gentleman Naturalist to travel around South America and chart the coastline Darwin on the Voyage of the HMS Beagle At 22 years old, Darwin set out on what was expected to be two years and ended up being five. Darwin on the Voyage of the HMS Beagle He collected large numbers of specimen and began to recognize patterns in what features the organisms presented based on the environments they lived in. Darwin on the Voyage of the HMS Beagle On the voyage, Darwin was reading about Lyell who was a renowned geologist. Lyell said that Earth was billions of years old, has changed dramatically since its creation and is still changing. Darwin embraced Lyell’s Earth theories and was influenced enough to start thinking that living things perhaps changed slowly too. Development of ideas When looking through his finch specimen, he noticed that the 14 different species of finches each had “unique beaks tailored to it’s specific diets.” Warbler Finch has a sharp, pointy beak to eat insects in trees Large ground finch has a large, stout beak that allows it to eat seeds and nuts which are too big for other species. Development of ideas He also could identify the island origin of giant tortoises based on the patterns on their shells. He concluded that organisms with favorable variations would be better able to survive and reproduce than organisms with unfavorable variations. The Origin of Species Through collaboration with other researchers including Charles Lyell, Richard Owen, and Alfred Wallace, he eventually conclude that favorable adaptations lead of the formation of new species. He felt that this explained the process of EVOLUTION. The Origin of Species In 1859 Darwin published the Origin of Species with the following main points. 1. Over production Most species have more offspring than are needed. If all lived, any one species would cover the earth, yet populations are more or less constant. The Origin of Species 2. Struggle for existence Space and food are limited. Offspring must compete among themselves and with other species. Only a small fraction survive long enough to reproduce. The Origin of Species 3. Variation Individuals are not alike Differences are variations and some are important The Origin of Species 4. Survival of the fittest Because of variations, some individuals will be better equipped to survive and reproduce. Those who are better adapted have a greater chance The Origin of Species 5. Natural Selection Desirable traits are usually passed on. The Origin of Species 6. Evolution of new Species Over generations, favourable characteristics accumulate and unfavourable ones disappear. This lead to the development of a new species. The Origin of Species Weaknesses to Darwin’s work 1. Does not explain the origin and transmission of variations 2. Does not differentiate between heredity and environment.