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The evolution of honeycomb

Summary

Honeycombs are natural engineering marvels, using the least possible amount of wax to provide the greatest amount of storage space, with the greatest possible structural stability. Darwin recognised that explaining the evolution of the honey-bee’s comb…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … suppose when we recollect who is her teacher’ (Brougham 1839, 1: 35, 77). William Kirby wrote of the …
  • … no bee in the world ever made cylindrical cells (Brougham 1839, 1: 32). However, Darwin knew that …

Darwin in letters,1866: Survival of the fittest

Summary

The year 1866 began well for Charles Darwin, as his health, after several years of illness, was now considerably improved. In February, Darwin received a request from his publisher, John Murray, for a new edition of  Origin. Darwin got the fourth…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … & what is delightful, I am able to write easy work for about 1½ hours every day’ ( letter to H. …

Jane Gray

Summary

Jane Loring Gray, the daughter of a Boston lawyer, married the Harvard botanist Asa Gray in 1848 and evidence suggests that she took an active interest in the scientific pursuits of her husband and his friends. Although she is only known to have…

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John Murray

Summary

Darwin's most famous book On the origin of species by means of natural selection (Origin) was published on 22 November 1859. The publisher was John Murray, who specialised in non-fiction, particularly politics, travel and science, and had published…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Wallace to be read at the  Linnean Society of London  on 1 July 1858, and Darwin began reworking …

Black Venus

Summary

Sadiah Qureshi (University of Birmingham) on the film Vénus Noire (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2010) Sara Baartman has long been characterised as ‘Black Venus’, or ‘Vénus Noire’. The epithet encapsulates how her exploitation and objectification whilst alive…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … who ‎could be owned, used and discarded by others’.[1] In many ways this is understandable. By the …
  • … performances, and not her entire life. [1] Obed Zilwa, ‘Sold as a slave, …

Darwin and dogs

Summary

Darwin was almost always in the company of dogs. Nina, Spark, Pincher, and Shiela. Snow, Dash, Bob, and Bran. The beloved terrier Polly (right). They were Darwin's constant companions at home and in the field, on walks and in sport, in his study and…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … time by himself, barks or howls dismally." ( Descent 1: 74) Gone for a walk …
  • … felt remorse to the last hour of his life." ( Descent 1: 40) Henrietta and …

Darwin on marriage

Summary

On 11 November 1838 Darwin wrote in his journal ‘The day of days!’. He had proposed to his cousin, Emma Wedgwood, and been accepted; they were married on 29 January 1839. Darwin appears to have written these two notes weighing up the pros and cons of…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … his correspondents. First note [after 7 April 1838][1] Work finished [2] …
  • … manuscript is in: Cambridge University Library,  DAR 210.8:1 Second note [July 1838] …
  • … University Library, DAR 210.8:2 Notes [1] The note was written in pencil on the …

Alfred Russel Wallace’s essay on varieties

Summary

The original manuscript about varieties that Wallace composed on the island of Gilolo and sent to Darwin from the neighbouring island of Ternate (Brooks 1984) has not been found. It was sent to Darwin as an enclosure in a letter (itself missing), and was…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … the original wild stock,  or become altogether extinct . 1 We see, then, that no …
  • … and habits which they exhibit. Ternate, February, 1858. Note 1 In CD’s …

Abstract of Darwin’s theory

Summary

There are two extant versions of the abstract of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. One was sent to Asa Gray on 5 September 1857, enclosed with a letter of the same date (see Correspondence vol. 6, letter to Asa Gray, 5 September [1857] and enclosure).…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Provenance:  CUL DAR 6: 51 Notes 1 The printed version is headed: “Abstract of a …

The death of Anne Elizabeth Darwin

Summary

Charles and Emma Darwin’s eldest daughter, Annie, died at the age of ten in 1851.   Emma was heavily pregnant with their fifth son, Horace, at the time and could not go with Charles when he took Annie to Malvern to consult the hydrotherapist, Dr Gully.…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … Our poor child, Annie, was born in Gower St on March 2 d . 1841. & expired at Malvern at 1  …
  • … her dear joyous face. Blessings on her.— April 30. 1851. Notes: 1

Florence Caroline Dixie

Summary

On October 29th 1880, Lady Florence Dixie wrote a letter to Charles Darwin from her home in the Scottish Borders; “Whilst reading the other day your very interesting account of A Naturalist’s Voyage round the world,” she said, “I came across a passage…of…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … some women, she argued, sought a different sort of life.  [1] So, having fulfilled her duty to …
  • … political activist and amateur Naturalist. [1] F. Dixie cited in M. Anderson, Women and …

The origin of language

Summary

Darwin started thinking about the origin of language in the late 1830s. The subject formed part of his wide-ranging speculations about the transmutation of species. In his private notebooks, he reflected on the communicative powers of animals, their…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … of the notes of birds and the cries of beasts” (Müller 1861, 1: 22-3, 354). Darwin eventually …
  • … struggle for existence is natural selection” ( Descent  1: 61). Debates about the origin of …

Scientific Networks

Summary

Friendship|Mentors|Class|Gender In its broadest sense, a scientific network is a set of connections between people, places, and things that channel the communication of knowledge, and that substantially determine both its intellectual form and content,…

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Moral Nature

Summary

In Descent of Man, Darwin argued that human morality had evolved from the social instincts of animals, especially the bonds of sympathy and love. Darwin gathered observations over many decades on animal behavior: the heroic sacrifices of social insects,…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … Letter 7048 : Darwin, W. E., to Darwin, C. R., [April? 1871] In Descent of man (1: 71 …
  • … this point from his son, William. "Mill says about ^1/3^ way thro' the last chapter …

Clémence Auguste Royer

Summary

Getting Origin translated into French was harder than Darwin had expected. The first translator he approached, Madame Belloc, turned him down on the grounds that the content was ‘too scientific‘, and then in 1860 the French political exile  Pierre…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … described Royer as “almost a man of genius”.  [1] To rewrite and actively politicise …
  • … concluded, “is not made like this.”  [2] [1] See J. Harvey, Almost a Man of Genius: …

Religion

Summary

Design|Personal Belief|Beauty|The Church Perhaps the most notorious realm of controversy over evolution in Darwin's day was religion. The same can be said of the evolution controversy today; however the nature of the disputes and the manner in…

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Charles Darwin’s letters: a selection 1825-1859

Summary

The letters in this volume span the years from 1825, when Darwin was a student at the University of Edinburgh, to the end of 1859, when the Origin of Species was published. The early letters portray Darwin as a lively sixteen-year-old medical student. Two…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … to Darwin scholars and medical historians. On 1 October 1846, Darwin, noting in his diary …
  • … subject. The joint paper was read at the Linnean Society on 1 July 1858. A few weeks later, Darwin …

Instinct and the Evolution of Mind

Summary

Sources|Discussion Questions|Experiment Slave-making ants For Darwin, slave-making ants were a powerful example of the force of instinct. He used the case of the ant Formica sanguinea in the On the Origin of Species to show how instinct operates—how…

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  • … DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. How would you characterize Darwin's central question regarding …
  • … in the world: it boasts a collection of approximately 1 million ant specimens, including over 6,000 …

First of the barnacle books

Summary

After eight years of research, Darwin publishes  Living Cirripedia vol 1, the first of four volumes classifying living and fossil barnacles

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  • … of research, Darwin publishes  Living Cirripedia vol 1, the first of four volumes classifying …

Species theory outlined

Summary

Darwin writes a 32-page outline of his ideas on species change, known as 'the pencil sketch' 

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Darwin writes a 32-page outline of his ideas on species change, known as 'the pencil sketch'  …
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