On the end of species

Working through my synopsis of Darwin's 'Origin' got me thinking about how things have changed. We now have unprecedented access to the blueprints of life. Genetic technologies are changing how we view living things, but might they even begin to dissolve the very meaning of a 'species'?


Darwin’s ‘Origin’ (ch.13 & conclusion): Endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful

‘Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.’

Darwin’s ‘Origin’ (ch.11-12): The geography of nature

In chapters 11 & 12, Darwin discusses why species are distributed as they are: why islands seem species poor yet produce such extraordinary forms, why alpine species are so similar yet separated by vast tracts of lowland, or why species in nearby habitats can sometimes be so drastically different. Read my distilled version here.

Darwin’s ‘Origin’: Introduction

Darwin's famous book 'On the Origin of Species' laid out his theory of evolution by natural selection and it is still one of the finest scientific works ever written. In honour of Darwin's birthday, I'll publish an excerpt from my 15000-word distilled version of the Origin each day. If you have never read it, and wish you had, this will hopefully show you why you should!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑