Darwin, On the Origin of Species
This small, unassuming book contains a grand scientific theory—one of the most significant theories in modern history. First published in 1859 in an edition of only 1,250 copies, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species set forth a theory that was backed by evidence he had gathered for more than twenty years.
Darwin did not attempt to address the origin of life in his book, nor did he discuss how humans fit into the history of life on earth. Rather, he proposed the theory of “natural selection,” a process by which species change into new species over eons of time. He boldly claimed that, through this process, all life descended from a common ancestor that lived millions and millions of years ago. Even to this day, his theory remains the foundation for what we know about the history
Charles Darwin (1809–1882). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. First edition. London: John Murray, 1859.