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Charles Robert Darwin, (/ˈdɑːrwɪn/; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was a British naturalist and geologist, best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory. He demonstrated that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors, and at a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace introduced his scientific concept this branching pattern of development resulted from a process that he called natural selection, where the battle for existence has an identical effect to the artificial choice involved in selective breeding.
Darwin published his theory of development with compelling evidence in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, beating scientific rejection of earlier theories of transmutation of species. By the 1870s, the scientific community and much of the general population had accepted evolution as a truth. But many favoured rival explanations and it wasn't until the development of the modern evolutionary synthesis in the 1930s into the 1950s that a broad consensus created in which natural choice was the basic mechanism of evolution. In modified form, Darwin's scientific breakthrough is that the unifying concept of the life sciences, describing the diversity of existence.
Darwin's early interest in nature led him to neglect his medical education at the University of Edinburgh; instead, he assisted to investigate marine invertebrates. Studies in the University of Cambridge (Christ's College) encouraged his enthusiasm for natural science. His inaugural voyage on HMS Beagle created him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories encouraged Charles Lyell's uniformitarian ideas, and publication of his diary of the voyage made him renowned as a popular writer.
Puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife along with fossils he collected on the boat, Darwin started detailed investigations and at 1838 envisioned his theory See all Charles Darwin products