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Origin of Species, The

Origin of Species, The. Charles Darwin's book of 1859 setting out the development of new kinds of creatures through natural selection, and inheritance with variability. After 20 years' work on a great tome, Natural Selection, he received in 1858 a letter from A. R. Wallace in Malaysia setting out that very theory. His friends published this and Darwin's earlier sketch, but nobody took any notice. So the Origin was meant to be a lengthy abstract, without notes or bibliography, of the full work; hence it looks deceptively accessible. Its readability, and basis in an immense bulk of varied evidence, carried the day, and made evolution scientifically respectable.

David Knight

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