The Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition
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The classic that exploded into public controversy, revolutionized the course of science, and continues to transform our views of the world.
organs, as well as from the successive periods at which the various forms of life are believed to have first appeared in our geological formations. He has thus boldly made a great beginning, and shows us how classification will in the future be treated. Morphology We have seen that the members of the same class, independently of their habits of life, resemble each other in the general plan of their organisation. This resemblance is often expressed by the term “unity of type”; or by
can understand how it is that in a region where many species of a genus have been produced, and where they now flourish, these same species should present many varieties; for where the manufactory of species has been active, we might expect, as a general rule, to find it still in action; and this is the case if varieties be incipient species. Moreover, the species of the larger genera, which afford the greater number of varieties or incipient species, retain to a certain degree the character of
multitude of facts all viewed, during a long course of years, from a point of view directly opposite to mine. It is so easy to hide our ignorance under such expressions as the “plan of creation,” “unity of design,” &c., and to think that we give an explanation when we only re-state a fact. Any one whose disposition leads him to attach more weight to unexplained difficulties than to the explanation of a certain number of facts will certainly reject the theory. A few naturalists, endowed with much
would be a slow process. As soon as the points of value are once acknowledged, the principle, as I have called it, of unconscious selection will always tend,—perhaps more at one period than at another, as the breed rises or falls in fashion, —perhaps more in one district than in another, according to the state of civilisation of the inhabitants,—slowly to add to the characteristic features of the breed, whatever they may be. But the chance will be infinitely small of any record having been
his standard of beauty, I can see no good reason to doubt that female birds, by selecting, during thousands of generations, the most melodious or beautiful males according to their standard of beauty, might produce a marked effect. Some well-known laws, with respect to the plumage of male and female birds, in comparison with the plumage of the young, can partly be explained through the action of sexual selection on variations occurring at different ages, and transmitted to the males alone or to