Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory: Contributions & Shortcomings

Darwin's  1837 "Tree of Life" sketch from his notebooks (Stanford University)

Darwin’s 1837 “Tree of Life” sketch from his notebooks (Stanford University)

Biological evolution occurs when a population evolves physical changes that allow it to better survive and reproduce in its environment. It’s discovery was first published by Charles Darwin’s in 1859 in his book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859 (later re-published as The Origin of Species). Darwin’s called his theory “descent with modification” through the process of “natural selection.”  He believed that environmental pressures–nature–selected for the most advantageous traits in living things much in the same way as domestic animals were selectively bred for desirable traits using “artificial selection.” Continue reading