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SpeciesA History of the Idea$
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John Wilkins and Daniel Doak

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520260856

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520260856.001.0001

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Darwin and the Darwinians

Darwin and the Darwinians

(p.128) (p.129) Darwin and the Darwinians

John S. Wilkins

University of California Press

Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species discusses why species evolve to be distinct from parental forms, and how they have done so. Darwin's definition of species is simply that they do not interbreed or, in the case of “unisexual” organisms, that natural selection keeps them isolated in the “proper type” suited to the conditions of life in which they live. This chapter presents an extensive and chronological series of quotations from Darwin's published works, including his correspondence and the Notebooks. It also discusses Darwin's contemporaries and their ideas on the concept of species. Alfred Russell Wallace insists that natural selection is the agent of speciation and that species are to be identified with their special adaptations. August Weismann treats species entirely as complexes of adaptations and defends natural selection as the entirety of evolutionary mechanism.

Keywords:   Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, species, Notebooks, Alfred Russell Wallace, natural selection, August Weissmann, adaptations

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