On the Origin of Species (1859)

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On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,
or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

by Charles Darwin
The first edition of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, published on November 24, 1859 in London by John Murray. It is a seminal work in scientific literature and a landmark work in evolutionary biology. It introduced the theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. (Index)
Excerpted from On the Origin of Species on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


ON THE


ORIGIN OF SPECIES.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


"But with regard to the material world, we can at least go so far as this—we can perceive that events are brought about not by insulated interpositions of Divine power, exerted in each particular case, but by the establishment of general laws."


"To conclude, therefore, let no man out of a weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God's word, or in the book of God's works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavour an endless progress or proficience in both."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Down, Bromley, Kent,

October 1st, 1859.

ON


THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES


BY MEANS OF NATURAL SELECTION,


OR THE


PRESERVATION OF FAVOURED RACES IN THE STRUGGLE
FOR LIFE.



By CHARLES DARWIN, M.A.,

FELLOW OF THE ROYAL, GEOLOGICAL, LINNÆAN, ETC., SOCIETIES;

AUTHOR OF 'JOURNAL OF RESEARCHES DURING H. M. S. BEAGLE'S VOYAGE
ROUND THE WORLD.'



LONDON:

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.

1859.


The right of Translation is reserved.


LONDON: PRINTED BY W. CLOWES AND SONS, STAMFORD STREET,
AND CHARING CROSS.

CONTENTS.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~


IntroductionPage 1


Variation under Domestication.

Causes of Variability—Effects of Habit—Correlation of Growth—Inheritance—Character of Domestic Varieties—Difficulty of distinguishing between Varieties and Species—Origin of Domestic Varieties from one or more Species—Domestic Pigeons, their Differences and Origin—Principle of Selection anciently followed, its Effects—Methodical and Unconscious Selection—Unknown Origin of our Domestic Productions—Circumstances favourable to Man's power of Selection7–43


Variation under Nature.

Variability—Individual Differences—Doubtful species—Wide ranging, much diffused, and common species vary most—Species of the larger genera in any country vary more than the species of the smaller genera—Many of the species of the larger genera resemble varieties in being very closely, but unequally, related to each other, and in having restricted ranges 44–59


Struggle for Existence.

Bears on natural selection—The term used in a wide sense—Geometrical powers of increase—Rapid increase of naturalised animals and plants—Nature of the checks to increase—Competition universal—Effects of climate—Protection from the number of individuals—Complex relations of all animals and plants throughout nature—Struggle for life most severe between individuals and varieties of the same species; often severe between species of the same genus—The relation of organism to organism the most important of all relations Page 60–79


Natural Selection.

Natural Selection—its power compared with man's selection—its power on characters of trifling importance—its power at all ages and on both sexes—Sexual Selection—On the generality of intercrosses between individuals of the same species—Circumstances favourable and unfavourable to Natural Selection, namely, intercrossing, isolation, number of individuals—Slow action—Extinction caused by Natural Selection—Divergence of Character, related to the diversity of inhabitants of any small area, and to naturalisation—Action of Natural Selection, through Divergence of Character and Extinction, on the descendants from a common parent—Explains the Grouping of all organic beings 80–130


Laws of Variation.

Effects of external conditions—Use and disuse, combined with natural selection; organs of flight and of vision—Acclimatisation—Correlation of growth—Compensation and economy of growth—False correlations—Multiple, rudimentary, and lowly organised structures variable—Parts developed in an unusual manner are highly variable: specific characters more variable than generic: secondary sexual characters variable—Species of the same genus vary in an analogous manner—Reversions to long-lost characters—Summary 131–170


Difficulties on Theory.

Difficulties on the theory of descent with modification—Transitions—Absence or rarity of transitional varieties—Transitions in habits of life—Diversified habits in the same species—Species with habits widely different from those of their allies—Organs of extreme perfection—Means of transition—Cases of difficulty—Natura non facit saltum—Organs of small importance—Organs not in all cases absolutely perfect—The law of Unity of Type and of the Conditions of Existence embraced by the theory of Natural Selection Page 171–206


Instinct.

Instincts comparable with habits, but different in their origin—Instincts graduated—Aphides and ants—Instincts variable—Domestic instincts, their origin—Natural instincts of the cuckoo, ostrich, and parasitic bees—Slave-making ants—Hive-bee, its cell-making instinct—Difficulties on the theory of the Natural Selection of instincts—Neuter or sterile insects—Summary 207–244


Hybridism.

Distinction between the sterility of first crosses and of hybrids—Sterility various in degree, not universal, affected by close interbreeding, removed by domestication—Laws governing the sterility of hybrids—Sterility not a special endowment, but incidental on other differences—Causes of the sterility of first crosses and of hybrids—Parallelism between the effects of changed conditions of life and crossing—Fertility of varieties when crossed and of their mongrel offspring not universal—Hybrids and mongrels compared independently of their fertility—Summary 245–278


On the Imperfection of the Geological Record.

On the absence of intermediate varieties at the present day—On the nature of extinct intermediate varieties; on their number—On the vast lapse of time, as inferred from the rate of deposition and of denudation—On the poorness of our palæontological collections—On the intermittence of geological formations—On the absence of intermediate varieties in any one formation—On the sudden appearance of groups of species—On their sudden appearance in the lowest known fossiliferous strata Page 279–311


On the Geological Succession of Organic Beings.

On the slow and successive appearance of new species—On their different rates of change—Species once lost do not reappear—Groups of species follow the same general rules in their appearance and disappearance as do single species—On Extinction—On simultaneous changes in the forms of life throughout the world—On the affinities of extinct species to each other and to living species—On the state of development of ancient forms—On the succession of the same types within the same areas—Summary of preceding and present chapters 312–345


Geographical Distribution.

Present distribution cannot be accounted for by differences in physical conditions—Importance of barriers—Affinity of the productions of the same continent—Centres of creation—Means of dispersal, by changes of climate and of the level of the land, and by occasional means—Dispersal during the Glacial period co-extensive with the world 346–382


Geographical Distributioncontinued.

Distribution of fresh-water productions—On the inhabitants of oceanic islands—Absence of Batrachians and of terrestrial Mammals—On the relation of the inhabitants of islands to those of the nearest mainland—On colonisation from the nearest source with subsequent modification—Summary of the last and present chapters Page 383–410


Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology:
Embryology: Rudimentary Organs.

Classification, groups subordinate to groups—Natural system—Rules and difficulties in classification, explained on the theory of descent with modification—Classification of varieties—Descent always used in classification—Analogical or adaptive characters—Affinities, general, complex and radiating—Extinction separates and defines groups—Morphology, between members of the same class, between parts of the same individual—Embryology, laws of, explained by variations not supervening at an early age, and being inherited at a corresponding age—Rudimentary Organs; their origin explained—Summary 411–458


Recapitulation and Conclusion.

Recapitulation of the difficulties on the theory of Natural Selection—Recapitulation of the general and special circumstances in its favour—Causes of the general belief in the immutability of species—How far the theory of natural selection may be extended—Effects of its adoption on the study of Natural history—Concluding remarks 459–490


Index 491


INSTRUCTION TO BINDER.
The Diagram to front page 117, and to face the latter part of the Volume.


This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.