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Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin can easily be recognized as a pure genius. In his lifetime, he single-handedly changed the way we see the world. His theories led to the study of the modern evolutionary theory of the world. Charles was a collector of plants, animals, and other specimens. From an early age, Charles had an immense love for nature, which started his career as a scientist. His trip to the Galapagos Islands forever changed his life and reputation. His two famous works were the Origin of Species and the Descent of Man.

Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England, in 1809. He was the son of Doctor Robert Darwin. His father was a wealthy aristocrat, and also a good investor. During Darwin's first years in life, his mother was very ill, and died when he was eight years old. His father taught him how to act like a proper gentlemen. Robert Darwin sent Charles to the Shrewsbury School in 1822. Charles disliked the school environment and shortly dropped out in 1825. His lack of interest resulted in poor grades. Charles enrolled to study medicine, but never returned after watching a horrifying surgery. Charles finally earned a degree in theology from Cambridge University, although theology was not his main interest. John Henslow, a professor at Cambridge University, helped start Darwin's path as a naturalist. Charles became known as the "man who walks with Henslow." Henslow later sent Darwin a letter of gratitude while he was away on his voyage.

In 1831, Darwin sailed around the world under the command of Captain Robert Fitzroy. During his trip, Darwin suffered from a prominent case of sea sickness, and had many restless nights swinging back and forth in his hammock. When the Beagle made landfall in South America, Darwin was overwhelmed with happiness. The Brazilian rainforest was filled with a large number of new, unique specimens that Darwin had never seen before. Darwin started to try and figure out the complex web of nature. He noticed that there were layers of seashells much higher than the sea level. He theorized that the sea had risen and fallen significantly over the years. Darwin also theorized that "man is firmly rooted in the animal kingdom" and that all animals are cousins of each other.

Darwin found the most important findings at the Galapagos Islands. These islands were filled with exotic life. These creatures were prehistoric-like, and not afraid of humans. This island was abundant with similar animals with slight variations. He found finches with small beaks used for insects and berries, and finches with much tougher beaks used for nuts. He determined that these creatures mutate in order to survive in their environment. This theory became known as "survival of the fittest", or Natural Selection. Natural Selection is natural variations among a specie to insure the species reproductive success. During his voyage around the world, Darwin collected 1,500 animals, and 4,000 samples of skin and bones of his specimens.

After his return, Darwin married his first cousin, Emma Wedgwood in 1839. A major factor in their marriage was that he could not believe in Christianity. Darwin



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