Jonathan Howard

in Darwin

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780192854544
Published online February 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191776786 | DOI:

Series: Very Short Introductions


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‘Man’ shows Darwin's linking of man to a general evolutionary scheme in his 1871 publication The Descent of Man. Man was subject to heritable variation in innumerable slight characters, and his reproductive capacity normally outweighed the capacity of the environment to support his progeny, hence man must be subject to natural selection. Darwin's thoughts on the social behaviour, the faculty of language, and high intellect of man are discussed. Darwin viewed man as an animal species, unique and distinctive in a number of respects, but no more fundamentally unique or distinctive than the ants and the bees are when compared with other insects less spectacularly endowed with complex behaviours.

Keywords: Charles Darwin; Francis Galton; language; Charles Lyell; sexual selection; species; Alfred Russel Wallace

Chapter.  5186 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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