The Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition
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The classic that exploded into public controversy, revolutionized the course of science, and continues to transform our views of the world.
than those which guide a bird to make its nest,—I believe that the hive-bee has acquired, through natural selection, her inimitable architectural powers. But this theory can be tested by experiment. Following the example of Mr. Tegetmeier, I separated two combs, and put between them a long, thick, rectangular strip of wax: the bees instantly began to excavate minute circular pits in it; and as they deepened these little pits, they made them wider and wider until they were converted into shallow
ignorance of the geology of other countries beyond the confines of Europe and the United States, and from the revolution in our palæontological knowledge effected by the discoveries of the last dozen years, it seems to me to be about as rash to dogmatise on the succession of organic forms throughout the world, as it would be for a naturalist to land for five minutes on a barren point in Australia, and then to discuss the number and range of its productions. On the Sudden Appearance of
to gauge with some security the duration of these intervals by a comparison of the preceding and succeeding organic forms. We must be cautious in attempting to correlate as strictly contemporaneous two formations, which do not include many identical species, by the general succession of the forms of life. As species are produced and exterminated by slowly acting and still existing causes, and not by miraculous acts of creation; and as the most important of all causes of organic change is one
look at individual differences, though of small interest to the systematist, as of the highest importance for us, as being the first steps towards such slight varieties as are barely thought worth recording in works on natural history. And I look at varieties which are in any degree more distinct and permanent, as steps towards more strongly-marked and permanent varieties; and at the latter, as leading to sub-species, and then to species. The passage from one stage of difference to another may,
from finding it an invariable rule that when a flower is fertilised by the wind it never has a gaily-coloured corolla. Several plants habitually produce two kinds of flowers; one kind open and coloured so as to attract insects; the other closed, not coloured, destitute of nectar, and never visited by insects. Hence we may conclude that, if insects had not been developed on the face of the earth, our plants would not have been decked with beautiful flowers, but would have produced only such poor