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Charles Darwin

Terms, Events, and Important People

General Summary

The Darwin Family

Terms

Maer -  The home of the Wedgwood family until the death of Josiah Wedgwood.
Megatherium -  An extinct ground-dwelling relative of the sloth.
The Mount -  Charles Darwin's childhood home in Shrewsbury, England.
Royal Society -  Full name: Royal Society of London for the Promotion of Natural Knowledge. Founded in 1660 and granted a royal charter by Charles II in 1662, the society served as a meeting place for independent scientists. In 1665 it started publishing a journal of research by its members, the Philosophical Transactions. Famous members include Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.
X Club -  The X Club was a private group of scientists who opposed religious explanations for natural phenomena. Tyndall, Hooker, and Huxley were members.

Events

Voyage of the Beagle  -  1831–1836. The HMS Beagle, captained by Robert FitzRoy, spent five years mapping the coast of South America. Charles Darwin joined the Beagle as a naturalist and it was on this trip that he made many of the observations that contributed to his invention of the theory of evolution by natural selection.

People

Louis Agassiz -  1807–1873. Swiss-born professor of zoology at Harvard University who rejected Darwin's explanation of the origin of species, preferring instead to believe in "special creation."
Samuel Butler -  1835–1902. Butler is best known for his utopian satire Erewhon and for his autobiographical novel The Way of All Flesh. After reading The Origin of Species he became an enthusiastic convert to Darwinism, but he later feuded with Darwin over a translation of a German book on evolution, which Butler claimed contained a deceitful critique of his own Evolution Old and New. He was the grandson of another Samuel Butler, Darwin's headmaster at the Shrewsbury school.
Robert Chambers  -  1802–1871. Author of the 1844 Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, a popular evolutionist book.
George Cuvier -  1769–1832. French zoologist and comparative anatomist. Although he was a supporter of the divine creation of species and the geological theory of catastrophism, he helped prepare the way for Darwinism through his studies of anatomical classification and paleontology.
William Darwin -  Son of Charles Darwin and Emma Darwin.
Susannah Darwin (Wedgwood)  -  Wife of Robert Darwin and mother of Charles Darwin.
Charles Darwin  -  Son of Charles and Emma Darwin. Born when Emma was forty-eight years old, he proved to mentally retarded.
Henrietta -  Daughter of Charles and Emma Darwin.
Francis Darwin -  Son of Charles and Emma Darwin.
Anne Darwin -  Daughter of Charles and Emma Darwin.
Emma Darwin (Wedgwood)  -  Wife of Charles Darwin.
Erasmus Darwin  -  Charles Darwin's grandfather, author of Zoonomia.
Erasmus Darwin  -  Charles Darwin's brother, opium smoker & runner in London literary circles.
Robert Darwin  -  Charles Darwin's father, a physician.
Robert FitzRoy  -  1805–1865. British naval officer and captain of the HMS Beagle. Despite his key role in its conception, FitzRoy remained a life-long opponent of Darwinism.
Robert Grant  -  Zoologist and early colleague of Charles Darwin.
Sir John Herschel  -  1792–1871. Well-respected astronomer and mathematician who Darwin visited in South Africa.
Joseph Hooker -  1817–1911. Hooker was a British botanist and a friend and supporter of Darwin. He was renowned for his work the geographical distribution of plants and as the Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. He was president of the Royal Society from 1872–1877 and was knighted in 1877.
Thomas Henry Huxley -  1825–1895. Huxley was a British biologist and enemy of Church authority. His staunch support of Darwin's theory earned him the nickname "Darwin's bulldog."
Henry Jenkin  -  138–1885. Engineer who argued that natural selection was a mathematically impossible way of producing evolutionary change.
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck  -  1744–1829. Full name: Jean-Baptiste-Pierre-Antoine, Chevalier de Lamarck. French biologist and evolutionist who coined the phrase "biology." He argued for the inheritance of acquired traits, a theory that Darwin initially rejected but later came to accept (incorrectly) as an auxiliary to natural selection. Lamarck's major evolutionary work was his 1809 Zoological Philosophy. He was widely criticized for speculating on the basis of insufficient evidence.
Fanny Owen -  Daughter of William Owen and friend of Darwin during his Edinburgh and Cambridge years.
John Tyndall -  1820–1893. A British physicist who studied the transmission of light through the atmosphere; first person to explain why the sky is blue.
Alfred Russell Wallace -  'Co-discoverer' of natural selection as the source of new species.
Josiah Wedgwood -  Friend of Erasmus Darwin, founder of a successful pottery, and grandfather of Charles Darwin.
Samuel Wilberforce -  Bishop of Oxford and opponent of Darwinism.

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