The book “On the Origin of Species”
The first edition of the book, published in 1859, sold out in just one day. Not limited by the traditional scope of natural history, its text is a result of studies in economics and philosophy, as well as a thorough investigation of the world of animal husbandry and plant cultivation. It constitutes an important record of the relationships among countless life forms, from cabbages to sheep. Nevertheless, it deliberately avoids addressing issues about the Human Being.
As in the works of Dickens – Darwin’s contemporary – the text itself, which sparks the readers’ imagination, is one of the many treasures contained in the book, for it encourages a new way of perceiving and understanding life.
Alfred Russel Wallace
Known as the co-discoverer of the principle of natural selection, English naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace supports the role of evolution and the principle of natural selection based on the laws of nature. However, in the years following the proposal of the theory, between 1860 and 1870, Wallace takes on a more conciliatory role by setting limits to the theory in regard to the human race, and was never quite convinced that evolution could explain the human brain and its mental faculties.
Anatomy has always played a key role in the Western biological thought. By looking closely to what lies underneath the flesh from where feelings of pleasure and beauty arise, one can perceive an amazing resemblance in the bone structure, as, for instance, in the flippers of a dolphin that are so much like the wings of a bird or the arms of a man.