Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution

Essay by Hugh MembrinoHigh School, 10th gradeA+, November 1996

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Charles Darwin Report

Chareles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution

Charles Darwin lived from 1809-1882, although Darwin has been dead for more than a

century, people are still interpreting, defending, or criticizing his theories of evolution.

Before he became England's greatest biologist, he was such an indifferent student that his

father declared, 'You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching, and you will

be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.'

Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury on Feb. 12, 1809. Darwin's

father was a successful and wealthy physician; his mother was a daughter of Josiah

Wedgwood, the famous British potter. She died when Charles was 8 years old, and the

boy was reared by three older sisters, who constantly found fault with him.

At school young Charles had no interest in classical languages and ancient

history. He liked best to collect shells, birds' eggs, and coins. He also watched birds and

insects and helped his brother make chemical experiments at home. These activities, he

said in later years, were the best part of his education.

At the age of 16, Darwin began to study medicine at the University of

Edinburgh. Here too he found the courses dull, and watching operations made him ill. In

1828 he transferred to Cambridge, intending to become a clergyman. Instead, he devoted

most of his time to studying plants and animals and later to geology. He received his

bachelor's degree in 1831.

Then came the event that shaped his life--an appointment as unpaid naturalist on

the exploring ship Beagle. It left England on Dec. 27, 1831, to make astronomical

observations, chart the southern coasts of South America, and sail around the world. The

voyage, with many side...