The evolution of the species
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most adaptable to change.”
— Charles Darwin
On the Origin of Species, 1859
The Origin of Species
The theory of the evolution of species is largely the result of Darwin’s studies and observations during the voyage of the Beagle between 1831 and 1836. However, it is only in 1859 that On The Origin of Species is published. This delay is an evidence of Darwin’s concern over how his ideas would be received and of the awareness that he had a theory that would shake the structure of the prevailing knowledge.
It is difficult to think of the word “evolution” without associating it to progress, improvement and development. That might be the reason for Darwin’s resistance to use the term. The idea of biological evolution does not refer to a hierarchy among species, but rather to the changes that have occurred over the years through the action of mutations and natural selection.
After the publication of the book, there was a period called the eclipse of darwinism – a period of isolation of more than 10 years, which Darwin devoted to the refinement and analysis of the theory. He finally revealed his long-held ideas about evolution and natural selection to a wider audience with the publication of The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, in 1871.