Charles Darwin was an English scientist. He is most well known for his theory of evolution.
Here are some facts about Charles Darwin:
- Charles Darwin’s father was a doctor and he really wanted Charles to study medicine at university. Charles started to train to be a doctor, but he was afraid of the sight of blood, and switched to studying the classics. However, Charles soon realised that his real passion was for geology (the study of the Earth and rocks) and botany (plant biology).
- In 1831 Darwin set sail on the HMS Beagle, a naval survey ship. Darwin was there to collect plant and animal specimens from the countries and islands the ship visited.
- The voyage took five years. For Charles Darwin, the most important part of the journey was the time spent in the Galapagos Islands. These islands are the home to plants and animals that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Darwin noticed that each of the different islands was home to a different type of tortoise.
- When the Beagle returned to England, and Darwin began to study the specimens he had collected in more detail, he realised that the differences in finches of the Galapagos Islands followed a similar pattern to those he had observed in the tortoises. The finches from all of the islands were similar, but birds from different islands had different beaks.
- Darwin started to study other animals and plants, and he began to piece together his theory of natural selection which explains how populations evolve.
- Darwin didn’t publish his findings straight away because he knew that they would be extremely controversial and upset many people.
- On the Origin of Species finally came out in 1859. It was a massive talking point because it challenged the truth of the creation story found in the Bible.
- Today, Darwin’s theory of natural selection has been accepted (by most people) as scientific fact, and new fossil discoveries are constantly adding to our knowledge of the different stages of evolution.
- Darwin’s appears on UK £10 notes, and a statue of him has been placed in the main hall of London’s Natural History Museum.
- More than 120 species have been named after Darwin.
Click here to find out some facts about other famous Victorians.