The Descent of Man (Paperback)
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|THE DESCENT OF MAN (1871) looks at the emergence of humans in terms of primate evolution. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) focuses on the origin and history of our own species, claiming that humans are closest in ancestry to African chimpanzees and gorillas. Darwin presents a strictly mechanistic and materialistic interpretation of the human animal that is free from superstition and spiritualism.|
From the Publisher:
In The Descent of Man (1871, 1874) Charles Darwin (1809-1882) focused special attention on the origin and history of our own species, a subject he had avoided in his previous writings on evolution. He claimed that the human animal is closest in ancestry to the two African "pongids," or anthropoid apes (chimpanzees and gorillas). Further, Darwin held that our species and these two pongids differ merely in degree rather than in kind - a controversial view that contradicted religious doctrine. The Descent of Man looks at the emergence of humans in terms of primate evolution. Darwin presents a strictly mechanistic and materialist interpretation of our species that is free from superstition and spiritualism.
Charles Darwin became interested in the study of evolution when he was official naturalist on the HMS Beagle, which sailed around the world from 1831 to 1836. After his return, he continued his research on animal and plant forms, concluding that selection was the key to man's success. His theory of evolution, soon known as Darwinism, stated that beneficial variations of species were preserved, while others, unfavored by their environments, were eliminated in the struggle for existence. Later his discoveries were corroborated by Mendelian genetics and became the prime cornerstone of modern scientific teaching. Always poor in health, he spent the last 40 years of his life studying and writing at his home in Down, Sussex. Darwin had the faculty of writing simply on abstruse matters; his use of reminiscence or a discursive anecdote lending great color to his scientific expositions.
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