Charles Darwin

Essay by breyUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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Darwin was a man who shaped the way in which we think about evolution in modern times. He brought forth and described the theory of natural selection and survival of the fittest. To fully understand modern evolutionary thoughts it is necessary for one to completely understand the early theories of Charles Darwin. In this paper I will provide the reader with a complete background on Charles Darwin, describe his voyage on the HMS Beagle, and discuss his theory of natural selection. Charles Robert Darwin, the founder of evolution, was born on February 12, 1809 in rural England. Charles was the son of Robert Darwin and Susannah Wedgewood. His mother died when he was seven and his father died when Charles was thirty-nine. Until the age of eight, Charles was educated at home by his sister Caroline. Charles soon thereafter developed a fascination for biology and natural history. The young student began to hoard, collecting anything that captured his interest, from shells and rocks, to insects and birds.

Darwin's beetle collecting while at Cambridge seems to have been a little more than collecting. His collecting began to control all of his time, and eventually his thoughts. But they proved very useful once on board the Beagle. (Freeman 91) His hobbies laid the framework for a wonderful life of discovery. In 1825, Robert sent Charles to Edinburgh Medical School to follow in the footsteps of Eras (Charles' brother) and himself. It was at Edinburgh that Charles discovered that medicine was not in his future. Charles was extremely squeamish and hated working on cadavers. This sent Charles back to his old ways of collecting and dissecting animals and bugs. Meanwhile, while attending Edinburgh, Darwin was also receiving instruction on taxidermy. This also proved useful on board the Beagle. Also, while attending...