1. Tasting the Strange: Charles Darwin's Curious Quest for Deliciousness
Charles Darwin was an intrepid explorer, not only of the natural world, but also of the culinary. His curiosity about the taste of strange animals led him to sample dishes made of an old brown owl, agoutis, armadillos and rodents. To his surprise, he found the meat of these creatures to be the tastiest he had ever tried.
2. A Tale of Two Careers
Charles Darwin had big plans to follow in his father's footsteps and become a physician, so he attended Edinburgh University to pursue this dream. Unfortunately, he soon realized that he couldn't bear the sight of blood, so he abandoned this idea and decided to study divinity instead. This eventually led him to become a rural cleric, a far cry from his original aspirations.
3. Charles Darwin and His Cousin Emma Wedgwood
Charles Darwin, the renowned naturalist and author of 'On the Origin of Species', married his first cousin, Emma Wedgwood, in 1839. The two had known each other since childhood, as their families were close and both had grown up in the same area of England. Despite the fact that marrying a first cousin was not socially accepted at the time, the couple were deeply in love and remained married for the rest of their lives.
4. Charles and Emma's Buddhism
Charles and his wife Emma were passionate about Buddhism, and held it in high regard. They were so intrigued by the religion that they often discussed its teachings and principles in their home. They even went so far as to incorporate some of its practices into their daily lives, such as meditation and mindfulness. Charles Darwin was particularly interested in the concept of karma, and how it could be used to explain the evolution of species. His respect for Buddhism was so great that he even wrote a book about it, titled The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.
5. Two of History's Greatest Opponents of Slavery
On February 12, 1809, two of the most influential figures in history were born - Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. Both men were passionate opponents of slavery, and both had experienced the tragedy of losing a child in their youth. Darwin had three children who died in infancy, while Lincoln had four children who passed away before reaching adulthood. Despite their personal losses, both men continued to fight for the rights of others, leaving a lasting legacy of courage and compassion.
6. The Prejudice of Captain Robert FitzRoy
Charles Darwin, the renowned naturalist and author of On the Origin of Species, almost didn't get the chance to embark on the South American expedition aboard the HMS Beagle due to the peculiar prejudice of its captain, Robert FitzRoy. FitzRoy, who was known for his strong opinions, refused to take Darwin on the voyage because he did not like the shape of his nose. Fortunately, FitzRoy eventually changed his mind and allowed Darwin to join the expedition, which would ultimately lead to the development of his groundbreaking theory of evolution.
7. Charles Darwin's Peak
On his 25th birthday, Charles Darwin was honored with a unique gift - the highest peak in Tierra del Fuego was named after him. Captain FitzRoy, the leader of the expedition, bestowed the honor of having the peak named Mount Darwin. This peak stands at an impressive 2,169 meters (7,117 feet) and is a lasting reminder of the great contributions Darwin made to the scientific world.
8. The Impact of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species"
Charles Darwin's groundbreaking book, "On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life", was published in 1859, twenty years after his epic voyage aboard the HMS Beagle. This book revolutionized the way we think about the natural world, and its impact is still felt today. Darwin's theory of natural selection proposed that species evolve over time through a process of adaptation and selection, and that the fittest individuals are more likely to survive and reproduce. This book was a major contribution to the field of evolutionary biology, and it continues to shape our understanding of the natural world.
9. The Origins of the phrase "Survival of the Fittest"
Charles Darwin is widely credited with coining the phrase "survival of the fittest," however, the phrase was actually first used by Herbert Spencer, a philosopher who was a contemporary of Darwin. Spencer used the phrase in 1864, and Darwin later adopted it in his writings. Darwin's use of the phrase helped to popularize it and make it a cornerstone of evolutionary theory.
10. Church Apologizes to Darwin 126 Years After His Death
When Charles Darwin's groundbreaking work on the theory of evolution was made public, it was met with vehement opposition from the Church. Despite this, 126 years after his death, the Church of England issued an official apology to Darwin for their vehement criticism of his work. This apology was a testament to the lasting impact of Darwin's work, which continues to shape our understanding of the natural world today.