Charles Darwin, a British naturalist, revolutionized biology with his
theory of evolution through the process of natural selection. Herbert Spencer
was the major philosopher of biological and social evolution. Spencer's work
significantly influenced 19th century developments in biology, psychology,
sociology and anthropology. While Darwin was influential in the fields of
natural history and geology, his theory of evolution created great controversy.
He changed the way people thought about the role of humans in the natural world.
Although these two men made advancement in the theory of evolution they had
contrasting views regarding anthropological study.
Charles Darwin was an English naturalist who first solidly established
the theory of organic evolution, in his work, The Origin of Species. Darwin was
born in Shresbury, Shropshire on February 12, 1809. His grandfather, Erasmus
Darwin, was a famous English scientist and poet. In 1825 the young Darwin went
to Edinburgh University to become a doctor. The same year, however, he
transferred to Christ's College in Cambridge in order to become a clergyman.
During this time he befriended a man of science, John Steven Henslow. It was
Henslow who recommended him for the unpaid position of naturalist on the H.M.S.
Darwin set sail on December 27, 1831 to study the Pacific coast of South
America and the Pacific Islands. His other duty was to set up navigation
stations in the area. He also studied the geology and biology of these areas.
Upon his return in 1839, Darwin married his cousin, Emma Wedgewood, and was
admitted to the Royal Society. He moved to Downe, Kent in 1842, and was plagued
by ill health until his death. He apparently transmitted Trypanosomiastis from
frequent bug bites in the Pacific. Darwin died on April 19, 1882 and was buried
in Westminster Abbey.
In The Origin of Species, Darwin presented his idea that species evolve
from more primitive species... [continues]
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