Charles Darwin

Everyone knows about Charles Darwes Darwinin and his theory of natural selection?
Behold 10 Fun Facts About Charles Darwin

1. Darwin once ate an owl

While he was at Cambridge University, Darwin joined the "Gourmet  Club," which met once a week to eat animals not often found in menus, like hawk and bittern. His zeal for weird food, however, broke down when he tried an old brown owl, which he found "indescribable."

2. Darwin wanted to be a Doctor, but he couldn't stand the sight of blood

Darwin attended Edinburgh University in hopes of becoming a physician like his father, but soon abandoned the idea because he couldn't stand the sight of blood. He decided to study divinity instead and become a rural cleric, which would fit his hobby of being a naturalist.

3. Darwin's nose almost cost him the voyage on the beagle

The Captain of HMS Beagle, Robert FitzRoy, was about to embark on a survey expedition to South America, but he was afraid of loneliness on the voyage. So FitzRoy asked for a well-educated and scientific gentleman to come along as an unpaid naturalist.
The professors at Cambridge recommended then 22-years old Charles Darwin for the trip.

They got together well, but later Darwin found out that he almost didn't get picked for the voyage ..... on account of the shape of his nose!

4. Best birthday gift ever: a Mountain!

For his 25th birthday on February 12, 1834, Captain FitzRoy named a mountain after him - Mount Darwin. The highest peak in Tierra del Fuego.

A year earlier, Darwin and his shipmates were on a small island in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago when a large mass of ice fell from the face of a glacier and plunged into the ocean, causing a huge wave. Darwin ran to the shore and saved the ship's boats from being swept away.  For saving everyone from being marooned, FitzRoy named the area Darwin Sound.

5. The full title of "On The Origin of Species"

But what most people don't know is the full title: On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. It was published in 1859, twenty years after his epic voyage.   He took his time in publishing his work, which he only did because Alfred Russell Wallace came to the same conclusion of evolution and Darwin didn't want to be left behind.

6. Darwin didn't invent the phrase "Survival of the Fittest"

After reading Darwin's On the Origin of Species, Herbert Spencer wrote Principles of Biology in 1864. He coined the phrase "survival of the fittest" and extended Darwin's theory of natural selection into the realm of sociology, ethics, and economics.

7. Darwin Married His First Cousin

Darwin was a logical man, and he approached the important issue of marriage like he would any problem. In The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, Darwin made careful pro and con list of marriage to his first cousin, Emma Wedgwood:

It is ironic that the man who gave rise to the importance of genetics in natural selection chose to marry his first cousin (Darwin wasn't alone in this - Einstein also married his cousin).

8. How Darwin Lost His Faith in Christianity

Darwin was actually quite a religious fellow when he began his voyage on the Beagle (he was fresh out of divinity school). Aboard the ship, Darwin was known to quote passages from the bible to rowdy sailors on board.

But something happened during the trip that made him less religious. Darwin saw slavery firsthand as well as the wretched living conditions of the natives of Tierra del Fuego and wondered why God allowed such inhumanities to happen Darwin lost his faith when his daughter Annie caught scarlet fever and died at the age of 10.

9. Darwin was a Backgammon Fiend

After his return from South America, Darwin developed a life-long illness that left him severely debilitated. Darwin consulted with more than 20 doctors, but the cause of his disease was never discovered.  Over the years, with the help of Emma, Darwin developed a strict routine that seemed to help in alleviating the symptoms. He would play 2 games of backgammon with Emma. He even kept score of every game he played for years!

10. Church of England Finally Apologized to Darwin

When Darwin's work on the theory of evolution came out, the church attacked him vociferously. Now, 126 years after his death, The Church of England has apologized to Darwin:

Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practice the old virtues of 'faith seeking understanding' and hope that makes some amends. But the struggle for your reputation is not over yet, and the problem is not just your religious opponents but those who falsely claim you in support of their own interests. Good religion needs to work constructively with good science – and I dare to suggest that the opposite may be true as well.


Charles Darwin celebrating his 204th birthday in
Restaurante Copi Coy, Puerto de Mazarron

12 February 2012