Author Archives: the darwin human nature project

Monkeys Attracted to Humans, but do they Kiss and Tell?

In recent posts, we’ve explored the implications of cross-species sexual attraction, and the perception of language as a measure of distinction between Homo sapiens and the rest of the animal kingdom. The question of what separates our species from other animals, … Continue reading

Rubicon crossed?

A long-standing debate concerns whether humans are specialized for speech perception ; in the the second half of the nineteenth century, two of the primary figures in this debate were Charles Darwin and Friedrich Max Müller.   A distinguished scholar and … Continue reading

Too Human in Nature?

The human-like qualities of great apes have always been a source of scientific and popular fascination, and no less in the Victorian period than in any other. Darwin himself, of course, marshalled similarities in physiology, behaviour and emotional expression between … Continue reading

Spotlight on a correspondent: William Winwood Reade

On May, 19, 1868, an African explorer and unsuccessful novelist, William Winwoode Reade (1838–1875) offered to help Darwin, and started a correspondence and, arguably, a collaboration, that would last until Reade’s death. After a first 1861 tour of West Africa, … Continue reading

Workshop in the History and Philosophy of Biology, Aberdeen, 21 May 2011

Dr White, from the Darwin Correspondence Project,  is speaking on Darwin and the evolution of sympathy at a workshop in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. The event will focus on the moral and religious debates surrounding … Continue reading

Top 10!

  Are humans inherently generous and sympathetic to others? Is there such a thing as an “instinct for truth” ? How do people around the world express their emotions? All these questions are discussed in Darwin’s correspondence. Darwin also writes … Continue reading

It’s all in the language !

How can an English bishop and a French évêque help Darwin explain his theories about species and natural selection?   In the middle of the nineteenth century, linguists were concerned with establishing genetic relationships between the English language and cognates … Continue reading

Darwin and phrenology

According to the phrenological doctrine, as elaborated by Franz Joseph Gall, the shape of the skull reflects the `organs’ or faculties of the brain. Phrenology attained considerable popularity in England: by 1832 there were 29 phrenological societies and an influential journal edited … Continue reading

Darwin’s hobby-horse

When does a hobby become a scientific subject ? Thanks to Darwin’s correspondence, we can get an insight  into what  Darwin called “an uncommonly curious subject” and his very own “hobby-horse”. The “uncommonly curious subject” was the expression of emotions … Continue reading

The Darwin and Human Nature twitter feed

The Darwin and Human Nature twitter feed (DarwinHuman) offers the opportunity to discover Darwin’s correspondence in an exciting and unexpected way. Discover  Darwin’s routine on a typical day for instance, or read his advice to his son William on how … Continue reading