The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms, with observations on their habitsby Charles Darwin
Darwin in his Introduction states the following: "The share which worms have taken in the formation of the layer of vegetable mould, which covers the whole surface of the land in every moderately humid country, is the subject of the present volume... I was led to keep in my study during many months worms in pots filled with earth, I became interested in them, and wished to learn how far they acted consciously, and how much mental power they displayed. I was the more desirous to learn something on this head, as few observations of this kind have been made, as far as I know, on animals so low in the scale of organization and so poorly provided with sense-organs, as are earth-worms.
Charles Darwin, born on February 12, 1809, was a famous English biologist and the father of evolution, grew up in England and as a young man he earned a reputation among scientists as an amateur naturalist, particularly in the identification of beetles. He started to study medicine but changed his career to study theology at Cambridge. In 1831, at age 22, Darwin was invited to travel as an unpaid naturalist on the voyage of the Beagle, an expedition that lasted for years. Darwin was observant, well read and prepared for such an opportunity. During these five years, he studied the animals, plants, land formations and fossils of many countries and islands, and kept a journal and specimens for future studies. One of the places that Darwin visited during his trip was the Galapagos archipelago. He stayed there for five weeks and studied the flora and fauna of the islands. His first task upon return was to review his journal and organize his collections. By the time he had finished, at the age of 29, he had developed much of his theory on the evolution of species. But Darwin was not ready to publish his theory until he had gathered enough supporting evidence. He spent 20 years on this task, and in 1859 he finally published On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection. When this work was first published, the edition sold out immediately, but the newspapers and scientific journals attacked Darwin's theory.
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