What is the Theory of Evolution?

How this term came to exist in science.

The different birds found on the Galapagos Islands

The different birds found on the Galapagos Islands

Ellie Solovyev, Contributor

     Natural selection, a term many of you may have heard about, presumably in science class at some point. But where exactly did this term come from? Rooting from the Theory of Evolution, natural selection is a notion created by Charles Darwin. Darwin was an English naturalist, geologist, and biologist who had many contributions to rudimentary concepts in science. It was formulated by Darwin as a result of one of his voyages that he had served as a naturalist on. 

     In his early life, Charles Darwin’s father, who was a doctor, had hoped he would study for a medical degree. Despite this, Darwin had always leaned towards natural history rather than medicine. Especially because, “it was said that the sight of blood made him sick to his stomach.” (education.nationalgeographic.org). Darwin had ended up studying theology at the University of Cambridge, but despite this his passion for natural history still existed. Even with this, he did not immediately pursue his passion, as back in the early 1800s, science was actually considered dehumanizing in English public schools according to britannica.com. Eventually though, Darwin got involved in studying zoology, geology, and biology.  

     Soon enough, Darwin decided to make the decision to embark on a voyage aboard the HMS Beagle. This journey is what would result in Darwin’s creation of the Theory of Evolution. The five-year-long voyage was full of exploration across South America, including various jungles, the Andes Mountains, Galapagos Islands, and the Cape Verde Islands. Across these locations, Charles had found many fossils of extinct animals and these discoveries had, “pushed him into thinking of the primeval world and what had caused those giant beasts to die out.” (britannica.com). Another significant moment was when Darwin had been on the Galapagos Islands. On each of the four islands, he noted that the mockingbird species had varied.  

     With the voyage over, Darwin continued studying his observations, which eventually led to him questioning how the species had changed over time. This had led to his formulation of natural selection. According to www.nationalgeographic.org, “The theory of natural selection says that individuals of a species are more likely to survive in their environment and pass on their genes to the next generation when they inherit traits from their parents that are best suited for that specific environment.” Eventually, Darwin published his concept in On the Origin of Species, which turned out to be just as controversial as popular, also resulting in belief that the planet Earth was much older than previously believed. 

     In conclusion, there was a large sequence of events, and many years of studying in order for Charles Darwin to reach his own conclusions on the theory of evolution. With this in mind, Darwin was and is a significant historical figure that contributed greatly to some of the crucial concepts in science.