The Hand of Darwin: 1835 Essay on Births and Deaths of Species

The Hand of Darwin: 1835 Essay on Births and Deaths of Species

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1835 Essay on Births and Deaths of Species

(Reprinted with permission of Syndics of Cambridge University Library, DAR 42:97.2)

ยป listen (mp3, 4:10) to David Kohn provide a broader context to this passage and why Darwin wrote it

Image transcription โ†’

a). The following analogy I am aware is a false one; but when I consider the enormous extension of life of an individual plant, seen in the grafting of an Apple tree, & that all these thousand trees are subject to the duration of life which one bud contained. I cannot see such difficulty in believing a similar duration might be propagated with true generation.โ€” If gradual deaths the existence of species is allowed, each acording to its kind, we must suppose deaths to follow one after at different epochs, & then successive births must repeople the globe or the number of its inhabitants has Varied exceedingly at different periods.โ€” A fact supposition in contradiction to the fitness, with which the Author of Nature has now established.


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has co-authored several books about Charles Darwin, including Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist. He's been researching and teaching Darwin for more than 30 years in Cambridge, England.

is Oxnam Professor Emeritus of Science and Society at Drew University and editor of the Darwin Digital Library of Evolution at the American Museum of Natural History Library.

is a geneticist at Virginia Commonwealth University and an Anglican priest.

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