The Origin of SpeciesCharles Darwin
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On the Origin of Species
by Charles Darwin
March, 1998 [Etext #1228]
Project Gutenberg's Etext of On the Origin of Species, by Darwin
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On the Origin of Species
by Charles Darwin
'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.'
W. Whewell: Bridgewater Treatise.
'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, Bromley, Kent,
October 1st, 1859.
On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,
Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
By Charles Darwin
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 Selection.
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.
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 --
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 --