The Origin of Species (1872)

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The Origin of Species  (1873) 
by Charles Darwin
The sixth edition of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species (first published 1872, this edition is a reprint from 1873). The book is a seminal work in scientific literature and arguably the pivotal work in evolutionary biology. The original title of the work is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, while in the sixth edition of 1872 the title was changed to The Origin of Species. It introduced the theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. Darwin's book was the culmination of evidence he had accumulated on the voyage of the Beagle in the 1830s and expanded through continuing investigations and experiments since his return.

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., F.R.S., &c.



SIXTH EDITION, WITH ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS.

(THIRTEENTH THOUSAND.)



LONDON

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.

1873.



"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."

Whewell: Bridgewater Treatise.


"The only distinct meaning of the word 'natural' is stated, fixed or settled; since what is natural as much requires and presupposes an intelligent agent to render it so, i.e., to effect it continually or at stated times, as what is supernatural or miraculous does to effect it for once."

Butler: Analogy of Revealed Religion.


"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."

Bacon: Advancement of Learning.



Down, Beckenham, Kent

 First Edition, November 24th, 1859.

 Sixth Edition, Jan. 1872.

CONTENTS.




Additions and Corrections, to the Sixth Edition Page xi-xii
Historical Sketch xiii-xxi
Introduction 1-4

Chapter I.
Variation under Domestication
Causes of Variability — Effects of Habit and the use or disuse of Parts — Correlated Variation — Inheritance — Character of Domestic Varieties — Difficulty of distinguishing between Varieties and Species — Origin of Domestic Varieties from one or more Species — Domestic Pigeon, their Differences and Origin — Principles of Selection, anciently followed, their Effects — Methodical and Unconscious Selection — Unknown Origin of our Domestic Productions — Circumstances favourable to Man's power of Selection 5-32

Chapter II.
Variation under Nature
Variability — Individual differences — Doubtful species — Wide-ranging, much diffused, and common species, vary most — Species of the larger genera in each country vary more frequently 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 33-47

Chapter III.
Struggle for Existence
Its bearing on natural selection — The term used in a wide sense — Geometrical ratio 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 48-61

Chapter IV.
Natural Selection; or the Survival of the Fittest.
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 the results of 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 — Advance in organisation — Low forms preserved — Convergence of character — Indefinite multiplication of species — Summary 62-105

Chapter V.
Laws of Variation.
Effects of changed conditions — Use and disuse, combined with natural selection; organs of flight and of vision — Acclimatisation — Correlated variation — 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 106-132

Chapter VI.
Difficulties of the Theory.
Difficulties of the theory of descent with modification — 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 — Modes 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. 133-167

Chapter VII.
Miscellaneous Objections to the Theory of Natural Selection.
Longevity — Modifications not necessarily simultaneous — Modifications apparently of no direct service — Progressive development — Characters of small functional importance, the most constant — Supposed incompetence of natural selection to account for the incipient stages of useful structures — Causes which interfere with the acquisition through natural selection of useful structures — Gradations of structure with changed functions — Widely different organs in members of the same class, developed from one and the same source — Reasons for disbelieving in great and abrupt modifications 168-204

Chapter VIII.
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, molothrus, ostrich, and parasitic bees — Slave-making ants — Hive-bee, its cell-making instinct — Changes of instinct and structure not necessarily simultaneous — Difficulties on the theory of the Natural Selection of instincts — Neuter or sterile insects — Summary 205-234

Chapter IX.
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, not accumulated by natural selection — Causes of the sterility of first crosses and of hybrids — Parallelism between the effects of changed conditions of life and of crossing — Dimorphism and Trimorphism — Fertility of varieties when crossed and of their mongrel offspring not universal — Hybrids and mongrels compared independently of their fertility — Summary 234-263

Chapter X.
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 lapse of time, as inferred from the rate of denudation and of deposition — On the lapse of time as estimated in years — On the poorness of our palaeontological collections — On the intermittence of geological formations — On the denudation of granitic areas — 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 — Antiquity of the habitable earth 264-289

Chapter XI.
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 chapter 290-315

Chapter XII.
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 — Alternate Glacial periods in the north and south 316-342

Chapter XIII.
Geographical Distribution
continued.
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 chapter 343-362

Chapter XIV
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 363-403

Chapter XV.
Recapitulation and Conclusion.
Recapitulation of the objections to 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 404-429
Glossary of Scientific Terms 430
Index 443
This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.