Introduction

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Charles Darwin lived in the 19th century and, together with Alfred Wallace, is known as the father of today’s accepted theory of evolution (1). Darwin established that all species descended over time from common ancestors. This process is called evolution resulting from a process called natural selection in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding (2).

Darwin published his theory of evolution with compelling evidence in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species (3), but it was not until the 1930s that a broad consensus developed in which natural selection was accepted as the basic mechanism of evolution (4).

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Darwin's early interest in nature led him to participate on a 5 year long sea voyage around the world on the HMS Beagle. The extraordinary different life forms that he found to be distributed at different geological places and his perfect logical senses allowed Darwin finally to conceive the theory of natural selection (5) which became one of the most influential ideas in human history.

More than 150 years after the famous voyages on the HMS Beagle, not everything is discovered on earth and much remains to be discovered. In particular, much that was invisible to the naked eye only came to life by recently developed modern techniques. So new subatomic particles or microbes, that are living in and on us humans, are still continuously discovered. But even more so, we only discovered now that the oceans and the simple soil in our garden are the habitat for an almost infinite diversity of microscopic life forms.

References:

  1. Coyne, Jerry A. (2009). Why Evolution is Viking.True.
  2. Larson, Edward J. (2004). Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory. Modern Library. Darwin, Charles (1859).
  3. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1st ed.). London: John Murray.
  4. Bowler, Peter J. (2003). Evolution: The History of an Idea (3rd ed.). University of California Press.
  5. Desmond, Adrian; Moore, James (1991). Darwin. London: Michael Joseph, Penguin Group.