Born in Shrewsbury, England in 1809, Charles Darwin studied at
Edinburgh University and Christ's College, Cambridge, before embarking at the
age of twenty-two on a five-year journey to South America, the Galapagos Islands
and beyond, aboard the HMS Beagle.
At this time, most Europeans believed that the world was created by God in
seven days as described in the Bible. On the voyage Darwin read Lyell's "Principles of
Geology" which suggested that the fossils found in rocks were actually
evidence of animals that had lived thousands or even millions of years ago. The
animal life and geological features that he saw on the voyage reinforced Lyell�s
argument and Darwin linked the fossils to modern species.
Upon his return to England, Darwin conducted thorough research of his notes
and specimens and out of this long study grew several related theories:
Evolution did occur.
change was gradual, requiring millions of years.
primary mechanism for evolution was a process called natural
The millions of species alive today arose from
a single original life form evolving through a branching process called
Darwin�s theory of evolutionary selection holds that variation within
species occurs randomly and that the survival or extinction of each organism is
determined by that organism�s ability to adapt to its environment. This theory
of evolution by natural selection underlies all modern biology. At times
controversial, the theory remains unchallenged as the central concept of biology
and it profoundly altered our view of the natural world and our place in
2009 is both the 200th Anniversary or bicentenary of the birth of the
greatest naturalist in history, Charles Robert Darwin, and the 150th Anniversary
of the publication of his most famous work �On the Origin of Species by Means of
Natural Selection�. Darwin�s work in the Galapagos Islands and Pacific Ocean is
of great relevance to Vanuatu as it is internationally and Vanuatu Post
recognises the significance of his enormous contribution to mankind.
Latest update 04.11.2012
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