What is Darwin’s theory of evolution?

          For a long time it was believed that each form of life on the earth appeared separately and that none had ever changed its form. Charles Darwin was the first scientist who disproved this belief and laid the foundation of the modern theory of evolution. According to this theory, evolution is the process by which all living things on earth today descended from common ancestors that lived millions of years ago. All plants and animals have evolved in an orderly way and continue to change even now. 

          Charles Darwin was born in 1809. He received his education in Edinburgh University. He was deeply interested in the study of biology. When he was only twenty two, he got an opportunity to go around the world on a voyage on the Beagle ship of England. The voyage lasted five years and during this period Darwin could see many new countries and study different creatures. It was on this voyage that Darwin formed many ideas on evolution and adaption. After his return to England, Darwin received a letter from the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who had formed similar conclusion about evolution. A joint paper by Darwin and Wallace was read in 1858. Darwin then wrote an account of his voyage and published it in the form of a book. The title of the book was The Origin of Species by Natural Selection. Its first edition was published in 1859. Setting a record, it was sold out on the very first day it appeared in the market.

          The Origin of Species attempted to prove on the basis of Darwin’s study that the living creatures had acquired their present shape and form after generations of evolution; and all of them had a common ancestry. In addition to this, his theory on natural selection explains that in the struggle for life only the fittest creature survives. Each organism differs slightly from its predecessor and in the course of time they acquired their present form. The book caused uproar when it was first published. Today, Darwin’s theories are widely accepted. Darwin devoted his entire life to the study of complex problems of biological science. He avoided entering the controversies surrounding his work and left it to others to debate the supposed consequences of “Darwinism”. The great naturalist died in 1882.