The Origin of Species

The Origin of Species: A Variorum Text

Charles Darwin
Edited by Morse Peckham
Copyright Date: 1959
Pages: 816
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  • Book Info
    The Origin of Species
    Book Description:

    The theories propounded by Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species have had a profound and revolutionary effect, not only on biology but also on philosophy, history, and theology. His concept of natural selection has created eruptive disputes among scientists and religious leaders of his time and ours. The phenomenal importance of his brilliant work is universally recognized, but the present volume marks the first scholarly attempt to compile a complete variorum edition of The Origin of Species, covering all of the extensive variants in the six texts published between 1859 and 1872. Darwin's changes were extensive. His book grew by a third as he rewrote many passages four or five times, and in this edition Morse Peckham has recorded every one of those changes. A book of such distinctive dimensions, on a subject of such profound importance, will be of intense interest to historians of biology, evolution, science, literature, and cultural development. It will be an invaluable aid to the clarification and full comprehension of this complex and renowned scientific classic.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0051-5
    Subjects: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-6)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 7-8)
    (pp. 9-34)

    “Much the greatest event that ever happened and much the best,” Charles James Fox said of the French Revolution—to me, a remark even more pertinent to the publication of On the Origin of Species. Its greatness would justify the preparation of a variorum text, but there are sounder reasons. The scale on which Darwin carried out five revisions makes it impossible, without such a text, to comprehend the development of his book. Of the 3,878 sentences in the first edition, nearly 3,000, about 75 per cent, were rewritten from one to five times each. Over 1,500 sentences were added,...

  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. 35-36)
    • Contents
      (pp. 43-50)
    • Additions and Corrections
      (pp. 51-58)
    • Historical Sketch
      (pp. 59-70)

      [Note: This section first appears in c.]

      An Historical Sketch of the Progress of Opinion on the Origin of Species, Previously to the Publication of the First Edition of This Work.

      I will here attempt to give a brief, but imperfect sketch of the progress of opinion on the Origin of Species.

      here give

      brief sketch

      The great majority of naturalists believe that species are immutable productions, and have been separately created.

      Until recently the great majority of naturalists believed that species were immutable productions, and had been separately created.

      This view has been ably maintained by many authors.


    • Introduction
      (pp. 71-76)

      When on board H.M.S. ‘Beagle,’ as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent.

      of the organic beings inhabiting South

      These facts seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species—that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers.

      facts, as will be seen in the latter chapters of this volume, seemed to

      On my return home, it occurred to me, in 1837, that something might...

    • Chapter I Variation under Domestication
      (pp. 77-119)

      Causes of Variability—Effects of Habit—Correlation of Growth—Inheritance—Character of Domestic Varieties—Difficulty of distinguishing between Varieties and Species—Origin of Domestic Varieties from one or more Species—Domestic Pigeons, their Differences and Origin—Principle of Selection anciently followed, its Effects—Methodical and Unconscious Selection—Unknown Origin of our Domestic Productions—Circumstances favourable to Man’s power of Selection.

      Selection, anciently followed, their Effects

      Habit—Correlated Variation—Inheritance

      Habit and the use or disuse of Parts—Correlated

      [Center] Causes of Variability. [Space]

      When we look to the individuals of the same variety or sub-variety of our older cultivated plants...

    • Chapter II Variation under Nature
      (pp. 120-143)

      Variability—Individual differences—Doubtful species—Wide ranging, much diffused, and common species vary most—Species of the larger genera in any country vary more than the species of the smaller genera—Many of the species of the larger genera resemble varieties in being very closely, but unequally, related to each other, and in having restricted ranges.

      in each country vary more frequently than

      species, vary most—Species of the larger genera in each

      Before applying the principles arrived at in the last chapter to organic beings in a state of nature, we must briefly discuss whether these latter are subject...

    • Chapter III Struggle for Existence
      (pp. 144-162)

      Bears on natural selection—The term used in a wide sense—Geometrical powers of increase—Rapid increase of naturalised animals and plants—Nature of the checks to increase—Competition universal—Effects of climate—Protection from the number of individuals—Complex relations of all animals and plants throughout nature—Struggle for life most severe between individuals and varieties of the same species; often severe between species of the same genus—The relation of organism to organism the most important of all relations.

      Its bearing on natural/Geometrical ratio of increase—Rapid

      Before entering on the subject of this chapter, I must make...

    • Chapter IV Natural Selection
      (pp. 163-274)

      Natural Selection; or The Survival of the Fittest.

      Natural Selection—its power compared with man’s selection—its power on characters of trifling importance—its power at all ages and on both sexes—Sexual Selection—On the generality of intercrosses between individuals of the same species—Circumstances favourable and unfavourable to Natural Selection, namely, intercrossing, isolation, number of individuals—Slow action—Extinction caused by Natural Selection—Divergence of Character, related to the diversity of inhabitants of any small area, and to naturalisation—Action of Natural Selection, through Divergence of Character and Extinction, on the descendants from a common parent—Explains the...

    • Chapter V Laws of Variation
      (pp. 275-320)

      Effects of external conditions—Use and disuse, combined with natural selection; organs of flight and of vision—Acclimatisation—Correlation of growth—Compensation and economy of growth—False correlations—Multiple, rudimentary, and lowly organised structures variable—Parts developed in an unusual manner are highly variable: specific characters more variable than generic: secondary sexual characters variable—Species of the same genus vary in an analogous manner—Reversions to long lost characters—Summary.


      Effects of changed conditions/Acclimatisation—Correlated variation—Compensation

      I have hitherto sometimes spoken as if the variations—so common and multiform in organic beings under domestication, and in...

    • Chapter VI Difficulties on Theory
      (pp. 321-379)

      Difficulties on the theory of descent with modification—Transitions—Absence or rarity of transitional varieties—Transitions in habits of life—Diversified habits in the same species—Species with habits widely different from those of their allies—Organs of extreme perfection—Means of transition—Cases of difficulty—Natura non facit saltum—Organs of small importance—Organs not in all cases absolutely perfect—The law of Unity of Type and of the Conditions of Existence embraced by the theory of Natural Selection.

      Difficulties of the theory

      modification—Absence/perfection—Modes of transition

      Long before having arrived at this part of my work, a...

    • Chapter VII Instinct
      (pp. 380-423)

      Instincts comparable with habits, but different in their origin—Instincts graduated—Aphides and ants—Instincts variable—Domestic instincts, their origins—Natural instincts of the cuckoo, ostrich, and parasitic bees—Slave-making ants—Hive-bee, its cell-making instinct—Difficulties on the theory of the Natural Selection of instincts—Neuter or sterile insects—Summary.

      cell-making instincts—Changes of instinct and structure not necessarily simultaneous—Difficulties

      Difficulties of the theory

      cuckoo, molothrus, ostrich

      The subject of instinct might have been worked into the previous chapters; but I have thought that it would be more convenient to treat the subject separately, especially as so wonderful an...

    • Chapter VIII Hybridism
      (pp. 424-474)

      Distinction between the sterility of first crosses and of hybrids—Sterility various in degree, not universal, affected by close interbreeding, removed by domestication—Laws governing the sterility of hybrids—Sterility not a special endowment, but incidental on other differences—Causes of the sterility of first crosses and of hybrids—Parallelism between the effects of changed conditions of life and crossing—Fertility of varieties when crossed and of their mongrel offspring not universal—Hybrids and mongrels compared independently of their fertility—Summary.

      differences, not accumulated by natural selection—Causes/life and of crossing—Dimorphism and trimorphism—Fertility of varieties

      The view generally...

    • Chapter IX On the Imperfection of the Geological Record
      (pp. 475-520)

      On the absence of intermediate varieties at the present day—On the nature of extinct intermediate varieties; on their number—On the vast lapse of time, as inferred from the rate of deposition and of denudation—On the poorness of our palæontological collections—On the intermittence of geological formations—On the absence of intermediate varieties in anyone formation—On the sudden appearance of groups of species—On their sudden appearance in the lowest known fossiliferous strata.

      collections—On the denudation of granitic areas—On the intermittence

      number—On the lapse of time, as inferred from the rate of denudation and...

    • Chapter X On the Geological Succession of Organic Beings
      (pp. 521-561)

      On the slow and successive appearance of new species—On their different rates of change—Species once lost do not reappear—Groups of species follow the same general rules in their appearance and disappearance as do single species—On Extinction—On simultaneous changes in the forms of life throughout the world—On the affinities of extinct species to each other and to living species—On the state of development of ancient forms—On the succession of the same types within the same areas—Summary of preceding and present chapters.


      Let us now see whether the several facts and rules...

    • Chapter XI Geographical Distribution
      (pp. 562-610)

      Present distribution cannot be accounted for by differences in physical conditions—Importance of barriers—Affinity of the productions of the same continent—Centres of creation—Means of dispersal, by changes of climate and of the level of the land, and by occasional means—Dispersal during the Glacial period co-extensive with the world.

      dispersal by changes

      period—Alternate Glacial periods in the North and South.

      In considering the distribution of organic beings over the face of the globe, the first great fact which strikes us is, that neither the similarity nor the dissimilarity of the inhabitants of various regions can be...

    • Chapter XII Geographical Distribution—continued
      (pp. 611-645)

      Distribution of fresh-water productions—On the inhabitants of oceanic islands—Absence of Batrachians and of terrestrial Mammals—On the relation of the inhabitants of islands to those of the nearest mainland—On colonisation from the nearest source with subsequent modification—Summary of the last and present chapters.


      [Center] Fresh-water Productions. [Space]

      As lakes and river-systems are separated from each other by barriers of land, it might have been thought that fresh-water productions would not have ranged widely within the same country, and as the sea is apparently a still more impassable barrier, that they never would have extended to...

    • Chapter XIII Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Organs
      (pp. 646-718)

      Classification, groups subordinate to groups—Natural system—Rules and difficulties in classification, explained on the theory of descent with modification—Classification of varieties—Descent always used in classification—Analogical or adaptive characters—Affinities, general, complex and radiating—Extinction separates and defines groups—Morphology, between members of the same class, between parts of the same individual—Embryology, laws of, explained by variations not supervening at an early age, and being inherited at a corresponding age—Rudimentary organs; their origin explained—Summary.

      [Center] Classification. [Space]

      From the first dawn of life, all organic beings are found to resemble each other in descending...

    • Chapter XIV Recapitulation and Conclusion
      (pp. 719-760)

      Recapitulation of the difficulties on the theory of Natural Selection—Recapitulation of the general and special circumstances in its favour—Causes of the general belief in the immutability of species—How far the theory of natural selection may be extended—Effects of its adoption on the study of Natural history—Concluding remarks.

      far the theory of Natural Selection

      of the objections to the theory

      As this whole volume is one long argument, it may be convenient to the reader to have the leading facts and inferences briefly recapitulated.

      That many and grave objections may be advanced against the theory of...

      (pp. 761-772)
    • Appendix I. Statistical Summary of Variants
      (pp. 773-774)
    • Appendix II. Transcript of Publisher’s Records
      (pp. 775-786)
    • Appendix III. Descriptive Bibliography
      (pp. 787-792)
    • Appendix IV. Illustrations of the Principal Binding Variants
      (pp. 793-796)
      (pp. 797-800)
    • INDEX
      (pp. 801-816)