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Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution

Portrait of Charles Darwin by G Richmond and painting of the HMS Beagle in the seaways of Tierra del Fuego, by Conrad Martens during the voyage of the Beagle (1831–1836. Text: In 2009 two anniversaries are being celebrated—the birth of Charles Darwin on the 12th February 1809, and the publication in 1859 of his book: On the Origin of Species. Join the Darwin Day celebration—an international recognition of science and humanity (linked to website).

Information and resources

In 2009 the National Academy of Science celebrated the achievements of Charles Darwin. The Natural History Museum in London’s Charles Darwin site includes a timeline of his life.

The Talk Origins archive can help explore evolutionary theory, Understanding Evolution includes lesson plans, and PBS has the interactive Darwin’s Diary.

See Richard Dawkins on The Genius of Charles Darwin, or Growing up in the Universe, on the splendour of evolution and our place in it. Find a range of videos on evolution from PBS, including the series Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.

Photograph of the elderly Charles Darwin, linked to brief biography. Photo by Herbert Rose Barraud taken in 1881

Find Darwin's books online

Laptop wrap: Talking evolution features interviews with scientist Michael Shermer and Laptop wrap: Charles Darwin sets tasks to present information for a debate.

Although subject to caricature (on left) at the time of publication of On the Origin of Species, many people believe that Darwin was the greatest thinker we have ever had. His ideas went against religious and scientific doctrines of the time. Read about the legendary encounter between Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, and T H Huxley (link to web page).

The evolutionary debate

Thomas Huxley was one of the first adherents to Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

The site A history of evolutionary thought provides an overview, while A timeline of evolutionary thought offers a broad picture.

PBS has the interactive resource The Evolution Revolution to explore evolution and religion, with links to related web activities and topics, and an evolution library for teachers and students.

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