Steve's Herpetological Blog

An insight into the life of Steve, his research and the many books he reads


#StevesLibrary: Darwin’s Ghosts: In Search of the First Evolutionists

Rebecca Stott has authored a couple of books on the life of the most famous naturalist, Charles Darwin. The first titled Darwin and the Barnacle outlines his labour of love to classify and learn everything he could do about barnacles. For those of you unaware of the story, he intended it would only take a couple of months bust instead – it took eight years. Eight long years! In Darwin’s Ghosts, Stott looks at other natural historians whom came before Darwin and eluded to similar ideas in terms of evolution probing whether or not there is such a thing as originality.

All of this stems from the historical sketch that Darwin included in the 4th Edition of On the Origin of Species to thank and recognise those he saw as contemporaries in terms of the idea. Some of the people include included in Darwin’s sketch and in Stott’s book include Robert Chambers, Alfred Russell Wallace and Erasmus Darwin (Charles’ grandfather). Stott delves deeper into the history of the idea of “transmutation” more thoroughly than did Darwin ever did. Crossing boundaries such and time and country to give a thorough synopsis of free thinkers who dared to consider mutability during times when the Church and law condoned such behaviour. Regular readers of the blog will know I love reading about the history of science, if you do too, then be sure to read this book and broaden your knowledge of the most important idea ever.


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