If you are a Darwin book collector with a $44,000 budget, this might be of interest to you:
LONDON – A British auction house says it is offering Darwin fans a chance to buy a first edition of the famed naturalist’s groundbreaking book.
Auctioneer Keys says the copy of “On the Origin of Species” is expected to sell on Thursday for up to 30,000 pounds ($44,600).
The 1859 work established Charles Darwin’s international reputation and built the backbone of the theory of evolution.
Keys says the book is one of 1,250 printed and is expected to attract interest from around the world.
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About the Book
Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (published 24 November 1859) is a seminal work in scientific literature and a landmark work in evolutionary biology. The full title was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, in which “races” refers to biological varieties. For the 6th edition of 1872, the title was changed to The Origin of Species. It introduced the theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. Darwin’s book presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose through a branching pattern of evolution and common descent, evidence he had accumulated on the voyage of the Beagle in the 1830s and subsequently expanded through research, correspondence, and experimentation.
The book was written to be read by non-specialists, and it attracted widespread interest on its publication. Evolution was highly controversial during the first half of the 19th century, as the idea of transmutation of species was at odds with the accepted notion that species were unchanging parts of a designed hierarchy. It was the subject of political and theological debates, with competing ideas of biology trying to explain new findings. Support for evolutionary ideas was already growing among a new generation of anatomists and the general public, but to a scientific establishment closely tied to the Church of England, science was part of natural theology. Some naturalists long committed to natural theology found it difficult to accept that humans were descended from other animals.
The evidence Darwin presented in his book generated scientific, philosophical, and religious discussion, which led to widespread acceptance that evolution had occurred, and the replacement of natural theology by methodological naturalism. This shift also contributed significantly to British science becoming professional and secular. The theory of evolution has continued to advance since Darwin’s time, and his concept of a branching pattern of common descent with evolutionary adaptation through natural selection has become the unifying theory of the life sciences, though political and religious controversies have been revived.