On the Origin of Species

On the Origin of Species (or, more completely, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life), published on 24 November 1859, is a work of scientific literature by Charles Darwin which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Darwin's book introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution. Darwin included evidence that he had gathered on the Beagle expedition in the 1830s and his subsequent findings from research, correspondence, and experimentation.

Epigrams

“But with regard to the material world, we can at least go so far as this—we can perceive that ev...

Introduction

When on board H.M.S. 'Beagle,' as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distrib...

Variation under Domestication

Variation under Nature

Before applying the principles arrived at in the last chapter to organic beings in a state of nat...

Struggle for Existence

Natural Selection; or the Survival of the Fittest

Natural Selection: Its Power Compared with Man’s Selection

How will the struggle for existence, briefly discussed in the last chapter, act in regard to vari...

Sexual Selection.

Inasmuch as peculiarities often appear under domestication in one sex and become hereditarily att...

Illustrations of the Action of Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest.

In order to make it clear how, as I believe, natural selection acts, I must beg permission to giv...

On the Intercrossing of Individuals.

I must here introduce a short digression. In the case of animals and plants with separated sexes,...

Circumstances favourable for the production of new forms through Natural Selection.

This is an extremely intricate subject. A great amount of variability, under which term individua...

Extinction caused by Natural Selection.

This subject will be more fully discussed in our chapter on Geology; but it must here be alluded ...

Divergence of Character.

The principle, which I have designated by this term, is of high importance, and explains, as I be...

The Probable Effects of the Action of Natural Selection through Divergence of Character and Extinction, on the Descendants of a Common Ancestor.

After the foregoing discussion, which has been much compressed, we may assume that the modified d...

On the degree to which organisation tends to advance.

Natural selection acts exclusively by the preservation and accumulation of variations, which are ...

Convergence of Character.

Mr. H. C. Watson thinks that I have overrated the importance of divergence of character (in which...

Summary of Chapter.

If under changing conditions of life organic beings present individual differences in almost ever...

Laws of Variation

Difficulties of the Theory

Miscellaneous Objections to the Theory of Natural Selection

I will devote this chapter to the consideration of various miscellaneous objections which have be...

Instinct

Hybridism

On the Imperfection of the Geological Record

On the Geological Succession of Organic Beings

Geographical Distribution

Geographical Distribution—Continued

Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology—Embryology—Rudimentary Organs

Recapitulation and Conclusion

As this whole volume is one long argument, it may be convenient to the reader to have the leading...

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