Charles Darwin - Father of Evolution
By the time he died in 1882 scientists were able to explain light and electromagnetic waves. And, thanks to Darwin, biologists were able to explain how life on Earth developed.
Darwin was the best biologist of all times. He was an expert on plants, animals and insects. But he didn't want to be a biologist at first. At school and the university Darwin was just an average student. He read a lot and collected beetles and butterflies. He went to Edinburgh to study medicine but soon found out that it wasn't the right thing for him.
At Cambridge he met a fellow botanist, John Steven Henslow. Henslow helped him get a job on the exploration ship Beagle. The ship travelled around the world for five years and Darwin learned a lot about the forms of life.
When Darwin returned to England he was a well-known scientist who lived an isolated life in the countryside where he did experiments and studied plants and animals.
Darwin read a lot of interesting books. One of them influenced him a great deal. A popular economist claimed that when the population grew the people would need more and more food. But there was not enough for everybody, so food would become scarce and not everyone could survive and have children. Darwin thought that this had to be true for animals and plants as well. Those that had food would survive and the others would die.
This helped Darwin solve many questions of life. While many scientists thought that all animals and plants had always been the same Darwin wasn't sure about this. During his voyage on the Beagle he began to think about it. He explored places where he saw that many animals and plants were similar, but in a way they were different too. Some of these differences were good and helped animals survive. They passed these on to their offspring.
Darwin proved that species could change. We humans have some features from our parents, but we also have others, maybe better ones as well. We will probably pass on these better features to our children. The same works in the world of animals and plants. As time goes on species change completely, sometimes slowly, at other times quite fast.
His book On the Origin of Species explained how species change. Many people didn't like it because it had many totally new ideas. But today almost all scientists agree with Darwin's ideas. They have continued work on his basic ideas and observe how life develops.
- agree = to have the same opinion or think in the same way
- average = not good and not bad
- basic = important
- beetle = an insect with a round hard back which is usually black
- botanist = someone who studies plants
- claim = to say that something is true even if it has not been proved
- develop = grow
- economist = a person who studies the way in which goods are produced and how people buy and sell things
- electricity = the power that goes through wires and gives us light and heat and make machines work
- electromagnetic wave =the waves that are caused by electric and magnetic fields
- explain= describe, give details
- exploration = to travel to places for the first time and find out something about them
- feature = marks, characteristics
- fellow =friend
- great deal = a lot
- human = person
- influence = to change the way someone thinks about something
- isolated = alone
- observe = watch
- offspring = the babies an animal has
- pass on = give
- prove = to show that something is true
- scarce = rare, not enough
- science = knowledge about the world and nature
- scientist = a person who works in science
- similar = almost the same
- solve = to find the answer to a problem
- species = a group of animals or plants that have the same features
- survive = to live on, not to die
- voyage = a trip you make with a ship