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Darwin Day

Authored by British Online Archives
Published on 12th February, 2022 1 min read

Darwin Day

A drawing of Charles Darwin, with his name written to the right of him.

Today (12/02/2022) is Darwin Day

Charles Darwin is perhaps Britain’s most famous naturalist and biologist, known for his contribution to the theory of evolutionary biology. On the Origin of Species (1859), in which Darwin posits the idea that populations evolve over time through the process of natural selection, changed the way in which scientists viewed the world. 

Darwin first travelled to South America in the 1830s for the purpose of completing geographical surveys to chart it’s harbours and map the region. Whilst on his travels, he collected samples of plants, animals, rocks and fossils. When he arrived back in England he set about investigating how species develop and change over time. Through comparisons of similar species collected in South America, he discovered that each changed according to their unique environment. From this he theorised that species develop traits that are likely to increase their chances of survival over time by passing them down genetically. 

This theory of ‘natural selection’ proved as controversial as it did groundbreaking. Due to the implication that species would take millions of years to evolve in their unique environment, this discovery smashed the religious myth that the earth was only 6000 years old. After a decade of public debate between scientists and clergymen, Darwin’s ideas were accepted as fact from the 1870s. 

Authored by British Online Archives

British Online Archives

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Notable Days


The British Online Archives Notable Days diary is a platform intended to mark key dates and events throughout the year. The posts draw attention to historical events and figures, as well as recurring cultural traditions and international awareness days, in both religious and secular contexts.

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