Evolution Essay

Topics: Charles Darwin, Evolution, Natural selection Pages: 55 (19074 words) Published: April 5, 2013
* Methodology
* Abstract
* Introduction
* Pre Publication
* The First Edition 
o Darwin’s Theory
* The Second Edition
* The Third Edition
o Owen’s Criticism
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Oxbridge Essays

o Saltationism
o The Age of the Earth
o The Advancement of Organisation * The Fourth Edition
o Hybrid Sterility 
o Perpetuation of Variation
o Absence of Intermediate Types in the Fossil Record 
• Catastrophism • Saltationism * The Fifth Edition
o Survival of the Fittest 
o Blending Inheritance
o Isolation
o Mendel and the Swamping Effect o Unconscious Selection
o The Age of the Earth * The Sixth Edition
o Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics
o The Age of the Earth
o The Incipient Stages of Useful Structures * Post Sixth Edition

* Conclusions
* References
* Appendix
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Oxbridge Essays

Developing ideas in “The Origin of Species”
Critical review of science history and comparison with contemporary knowledge Abstract
In interpreting the background to this project I noticed three key themes, these are: criticism from contemporaries, Darwin’s amendments to the Origin of Species and, effectively, ‘who was right’. In other words, I researched all the changes between all the editions of the Origin of Species and all the contemporary criticsms to find relationships between the two. I then included sections describing the relevant knowledge of today, and by today’s understanding, how much could have been improved. The whole dissertation is arranged in chronological order.

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The Origin of Species is one of the most famous, influential and notorious books in human history. More frequently cited than read and more often read than understood, it was once estimated that 90% of biology degree students had not read the Origin. Until work on this project began, I myself was one of the 90%. I understood the concepts it included, but had no idea how Darwin conceived and developed these concepts. Since Darwinian evolution forms the cornerstone of modern biology it is therefore of great importance that we understand how this theory evolved. The aim of this dissertation is to examine Darwin’s ideas and how they developed in response to the criticism he received from his contemporaries. The ‘development’ took the form of five editions subsequent to the first, published between 1859 and 1872. Of the 3,878 sentences in the First Edition, nearly 3,000 (approximately 75%) were rewritten from one to five times each. Over 1,500 sentences were added and 325 were omitted. In terms of added sentences, the Sixth Edition is nearly a third longer than the first119. In considering the issues raised by Darwin and his critics, it is imperative that we keep in mind that they lived during the Victorian Era and that the First Edition of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life is almost 150 years old. As such we must be prepared for a scientific understanding far more rudimentary than today. However, it is a testament to Darwin’s theory that it still forms the foundation of the biological sciences in the Twenty First Century. Pre Publication

Born in Shrewsbury on the 12th February 1809, Charles Robert Darwin was the fifth of six children to wealthy doctor Robert and his wife Susannah Darwin (née Wedgwood – daughter of Josiah Wedgwood). Charles Darwin had an upper class, upbringing and his interest in natural history started at a very Oxbridge Essays 5 www.oxbridgeessays.com

young age; in his autobiography he recalls: “By the time I went to this day- school my taste for natural history, and more especially for collecting, was well developed”86....

References: The computation of time required for the denudation of the Weald omitted. I have been convinced of its inaccuracy in several respects by an excellent article in the 'Saturday Review, ' Dec. 24, 1859.
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