Tag Archives: Descent of Man

‘The Evolution of Woman’ versus ‘The Descent of Man’

Women have interpreted and applied evolutionary theory in arguments about women’s nature for over a century. Eliza Burt Gamble (1841-1920) was a pioneer in this endeavor. Gamble was an advocate of the Woman Movement, a mother, a writer, and a … Continue reading

What’s the difference between a peacock and a pocket flap?

Why do hats have hatbands? Why are there buttons on a cuff, or tails on a coat? What does a peacock have in common with a pocket flap? According to Charles Darwin’s son George, the answer to all these questions … Continue reading

The Scent of Woman

In March 1872 Gaston de Saporta, a French paleobotanist, penned a letter to Darwin offering two pieces of evidence in support of Darwin’s theory on the common ancestry of man and ape.   The first point of similarity between the two … Continue reading

Darwin’s Invisible Workforce

Charles Darwin was not just a eminent Naturalist – he was also the head of a thriving family economy who drew on the help of his relatives at any (and, it seems, every!) opportunity. His eldest son, William, was regularly tasked with observing plants and … Continue reading

Women and peahens: Darwin on sexual selection

What’s the difference between a woman and a peahen?   Seems a silly (if not insulting) question.  But in Descent of Man Darwin proposed a theory which, uncharacteristically, set women decisively apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.   According to … Continue reading

Female Censorship?

Editors. All good writers need them, and Darwin was no exception. Although many members of the Darwin family helped refine his manuscripts, it was his daughter Henrietta on whom Darwin arguably relied the most, particularly during the 1860s when he edited the Descent … Continue reading