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Sequence No.


Give a brief account of Darwins theory of natural selection.



The term ‘Darwinsm’ is coined for the explanation, ‘The Origin of Species by Natural Selection’ presented by Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882). Alfred Russel Wallace (1823 - 1913), an English biologist also arrived at the same conclusion independently. Theory of Natural Selection was announced on June 30th, 1858 by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.

Darwin's Observations:
Darwin travelled as a naturalist around the world on a survey ship, named H.M.S. Beagle in 1831. His Voyage lasted for 5 years (1831-1836). During his voyage, Darwin visited South America, Australia, South- East Asia, Southern tip of Africa, and a number of Islands including Galapagos Islands. Darwin observed and collected samples of various Flora and Fauna, mammalian fossils and coral reefs and prepared detailed notes. In Galapagos Island he also observed 13 different types of birds belonging to the family Geospizidae. He described his observations in his book Naturalist Voyage Around the world.

Darwins observations were:

  1. Different islands, which are widely separated but have similar climate and topography, have different Flora and Fauna.
  2. The animals and plants found on nearby islands are related but differ amongst themselves and also from those found on mainland.
  3. The same groups of plant and animals from different areas also exhibit differences.
  4. In Galapagos islands Darwin found 13 species of finches, each species occupying a different island. These differed from each other as well as from the finches present on the mainland of south Amercia, from which they all are supposed to have evolved. These birds are popularly known as Darwins Finches.
  5. Darwin collected fossils and noticed that while some fossils resembled modern day plants and animals, other were much different and primitive.

In 1958 Thomas Malthus sent his essay to Darwin. The thinking of both Darwin and Wallace in respect of organic evolution was greatly influenced by essays on ‘Principles of Population’ written by T.R. Malthus. Joint papers of Darwin and Wallace entitled ‘Origin of Species’ was published in the proceeding of ‘Linnean society of London’ in 1958. In his article Malthus had proposed that living organism multiple in geometric ratio, whereas the space and food resources etc. remain constant.

Principles of Darwinism:

  1. Enormous Fertility in Organisms
  2. Limited Food and Space
  3. Struggle For Existence
  4. Variations
  5. Natural Selection or Survival of the Fittest
  6. Inheritance of Useful Variations
  7. Speciation
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