The Origin of Species summary

Perhaps one of the most important scientific works of modern humanity is The Origin of Species, which is the very foundation of evolutionary theory, and which was written by naturalist Charles Darwin was first published on 24 November 1859, thanks to the editorial work John Murray.

About the play

This work by Darwin featured for the first time an extensive title: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (which could be literally translated as The Origin of Species by means of the selection preservation of favored races in the struggle for life).

However, this extensive title, perhaps for editorial reasons, was summarized in 1872, when the sixth edition of this work took place, assuming since then the name by which it is known: The origin of the species.

Basically, Darwin’s work revolutionized the scientific realm, as it came to completely collapse theories such as creationist or fijist, then bringing down the belief that the species that were known had been created at first, without them having been modified. On the contrary, Darwin posed an evolutionary process, in which all species shared a common ancestry.

On the other hand, the origin of the species not only posed a new scientific theory that came to explain life and its different forms, but in addition to its revolutionary approach, it showed evidence on the evolutionary processes it exhibited, which they in turn came from the expedition made by Darwin during 1830, on what is known as the Beagle journey, and which this naturalist then studied for almost thirty years.

Summary of The Origin of Species

Although this work by Charles Darwin can be fully described as the general approach to evolutionary theory, it can be specifically said that it is divided between seven topics, which are progressively addressed during the development of the text, and which can basically be explained as follows:

The community of offspring

First, Darwin begins his work The Origin of Species by explaining how, contrary to what posed the Fijian theory that he believed that each species had emerged and remained the way it was known by that time, in reality each species had emerged d and others, and all apparently from the same ancestors. In this way, members of the different species could sustain filiar links with other species, all responding to a community of offspring.

The origin of the variations

Likewise, in the second part of the work, Darwin delves into the causes that can lead a given species to suffer certain variations in both its phenotype and its genotype, which gradually become its characteristics, building then the very evolution of this species.

Among the reasons that this naturalist points out are mainly those that point to the living conditions to which the species are subjected, as these will determine what characteristics should be strengthened, appear or even disappear, due to the so that over time their lack of need makes them something that is of no use, so evolutionary process would eliminate them at some point.

The probability of the appearance of varieties

Thirdly, Darwin notes that not all species have the same impact on the occurrence of their variations, so then it can also be noted which species have undergone the greatest number of changes, and which on the contrary have not been able to experience them, being overcome by adverse factors. Similarly, Darwin points out that this capacity for variation, in order to respond to the different circumstances of life, in addition to being typical of each species, is an inheritable factor.

Natural selection

Another of the topics addressed by Charles Darwin in this work, and which is also one of the most important axes of evolutionary theory is known as Natural Selection, a concept that points out precisely how the variations experienced by a species, in order to adapt to the living conditions offered by your environment, they depend on your ability to accumulate variations, reproduce and inherit such changes. Thus, this naturalist points out that in reality a species evolves depends on its adaptability, a quality that only those who are able to vary have.

Gradualism, divergence and spice concepts

Similarly, towards the end of this work, Darwin continues to expose the way in which these variations occur and their passage from one generation to another. On the other hand, this scientist dedicates the last chapter of The Origin of Species precisely to exposing another revolutionary concept: the very definition of species, not only described as the set of individuals with similar characteristics, but as the product of a specific evolution.

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Picture: portrait of Charles Darwin, author of The Origin of Species / Source:

The Origin of Species summary
Source: curiosities  
September 21, 2019

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