Origin Of Species By Means Term Paper

Length: 8 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Evolution Type: Term Paper Paper: #96814183 Related Topics: Genetic Testing, Animal Testing, Ecosystem, Evolution
Excerpt from Term Paper :

For example, the species on a single continent are more likely to be similar to one another, even if they live in vastly different environmental conditions, than species from two different continents. Darwin drew heavily upon his experience on the Beagle to suggest that ability to engage in migration was an important component of natural selection. Darwin drew upon examples of islands to help explain his ideas, using examples from his time on the Beagle. For example, he theorized that animals develop to fit certain ecological niches, and that animals of different types might fill those niches in different areas.

After discussing how geography has impacted biology, Darwin moves on to a discussion of how species are classified. He acknowledges that the science behind these classifications is imperfect, as it is based on resemblance. He states his belief that animals with similar traits share a common ancestor. In this way, Darwin suggests that classifying animals and plants involves performing a type of genealogical survey. Darwin looks at the similarities between seemingly diverse animals and how the same basic structures are slightly modified in different animals to result in very different products. "It is, no doubt, extremely difficult even to conjecture by what gradations many structures have been perfected" (Darwin, p.404). In fact, he talks about rudimentary organs, which he calls vestigial organs, which no longer serve a function in an animal species, but which he believes exist because of the animal's evolutionary history.

Darwin concludes his book with a discussion of the possible implications of natural selection. He discusses how interesting it is for one to contemplate the ideas behind evolution. He even acknowledges that he is aware that a theory of natural selection has special implications for the development of human kind. He does not, however, specifically discuss the evolution of man. He specifically does not put forth any theories suggesting that man evolved from monkeys, which is a common misconception people have about Darwin's work.


A modern day reading of Darwin's work makes it appear that the man was not only a gifted naturalist, but also somehow prescient. So many of his theories about natural selection have been substantiated through additional scientific research, that it is difficult to find fault with those theories. For example, Darwin believed that, with future discovery, the fossil record would support the idea of natural selection. The reality is that the fossil record has supported the idea of natural selection, not only in lower plants and animals, but also in humans.

In fact, so many of Darwin's ideas seemed familiar and commonplace, that it was difficult to read the book from a fresh perspective. While the theories, themselves, were familiar, the world where evolution is an accepted scientific theory and see similarities in animals that one knows are genetically similar. It is an entirely different notion to be traveling on a ship, noticing similarities between animals, and come to the conclusion that these animals were the product of evolution. Reading the logic in the book made it clear that, while Darwin may have had contemporaries who were contemplating the same information, as a group, these naturalists were groundbreaking scientists. Much of that is lost on the modern person, but becomes clear when one reads how he came to these conclusions.

However, there are places where, because of what modern science can do, Darwin seems very ill-informed. For example, he devotes a significant part of his text to determining what makes a species and how species can be differentiated from subgroups of the same species. So much of his evidence is linked on observable phenomenon, so that animals that look more similar are considered to be more similar. In the day and age of genetic testing, this type of classification scheme seems ridiculous. Today, if a scientist wants to know if two animals are members of the same species, he or she can run genetic sequencing tests that will reveal that answer. In fact, several times in recent history animals that were believed to be parts of different species were revealed to be part of the same species. When one considers the historical context of the text, this anomaly, of course, makes sense. However, when one looks at how valid the text is scientifically, it does mar the text's utility.


There is no doubt that Charles Darwin's on the Origin of Species was a major ground-breaking work. Though other naturalists had been suggesting that some type of evolutionary process helped create modern species, Darwin was the first to put it in a manner that could be easily accessed by the non-scientific reader. In fact, Darwin's work may have been almost too successful. Almost immediately after publication, Darwin began receiving criticism that his work was anti-religious. Though he tried to address those concerns in later editions of his book, the fact was that Darwin's theory did undermine the idea of a creator God that created species in a single creative incident. However, that does not mean that scientists and religious persons have been unable to reconcile the concept of evolution with the idea of God. It simply created a challenge. Because Darwin's work had such a huge sociological impact, it can literally be said to have helped change the fabric of society.

Of course, Darwin's real impact has come in how his text has viewed how scientists have approached the notion of natural selection. Building upon his work, scientists in several fields have established evolution as the primary theory for describing how current species have come into being. Moreover, though it has been fiercely contested at times, scientists have built upon Darwin's original work to establish natural selection as the means by which humans came into being. The idea that humans have, not only evolved, but are in a continual process of evolving has helped shaped understanding of medical and other scientific issues.

Works Cited

Darwin, Charles. The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London. Odhams Press Limited,…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Darwin, Charles. The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London. Odhams Press Limited, 1872.

Cite this Document:

"Origin Of Species By Means" (2010, November 22) Retrieved June 30, 2022, from

"Origin Of Species By Means" 22 November 2010. Web.30 June. 2022. <

"Origin Of Species By Means", 22 November 2010, Accessed.30 June. 2022,

Related Documents
Origin of HIV the Mystery of HIV
Words: 6006 Length: 22 Pages Topic: Disease Paper #: 35184502

Origin of HIV The mystery of HIV and its origins is one that cannot be easily solved. In the thirty-odd years which have passed since the official recognition of AIDS by the CDC and the subsequent search for its cause, various theories have been floated regarding its nature, its development, its ability to adapt, our ability to combat it, and -- most importantly for some -- its origin. How did the

Origin of Species
Words: 2291 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Biology Paper #: 12726516

Darwin Had the Enlightenment adequately prepared 19th century readers for Darwin's Origin of the Species? The Enlightenment view of the science of life was neatly summed up by Diderot in his Encyclopedia, in many ways a signature product of the Enlightenment's dedication to setting forth the foundations of human knowledge. As Diderot notes in his prefaratory comments, what we call biology falls under the heading of "Natural History": The divisions of natural

Introduced Species of California Common Teasel
Words: 1304 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Animals Paper #: 90533691

Species of California (Common Teasel) The Common Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) is a plant species identified by several alternate names, including wild teasel, Indian teasel, card teasel, card thistle, gypsy-comb, Venus-cup, and finally Fuller's teasel. With the exception of the great plains region in the north, it can be found growing wild throughout the continental United Staes and parts of Canada. Fuller's teasel is actually a cultivated variety (Dipsacus sativus), which

Animal Species Studied for This Report Include
Words: 2701 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Animals Paper #: 10515392

animal species studied for this report include the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) and the American Black Bear (Ursus americanus). The plant species studied are the Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) and the Prickly Pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa). Each of these species has been observed at the local zoo, and further research has been conducted to learn about the environment in which each species would live in a natural setting. The

Sacramental Theology the Meaning, Origin, and Significance
Words: 940 Length: 3 Pages Topic: Mythology - Religion Paper #: 5986522

Sacramental Theology The meaning, origin, and significance of the sacraments of the Church have been debated for centuries with scholastics like Thomas Aquinas arguing that each sacrament was instituted by Christ and others, like Luther, arguing that the sacraments gave no grace but were signs only. This paper will look at the traditional eschatology surrounding the Sacraments by giving a definition, discussing the elements of matter and form, and analyzing the

Search of the Perfect Host the Origins
Words: 2829 Length: 9 Pages Topic: Genetics Paper #: 2247852

Search of the Perfect Host The Origins and Specificity of Parasites The door opens. You walk into the room. You hear your favorite music. You see your best friends. Your favorite drink is waiting on the bar. Smiling, the hostess approaches, "I did it all for you." Ah, what a dream - the perfect party, the perfect host! While such a fantasy may not always be the lot of the human