The Latymer School History Magazine - page 5

Darwin’s Finches
useful, is preserved” in his
most famous book
Origin of Species.
In the first
edition of
the Origin of
published in 1859,
Charles speculated that the
theory of natural selection
could cause a land mammal
to turn into a whale. As one
of his hypothetical examples,
Darwin wrote about North
American black bears that
were known to catch insects
by swimming in the water
with their mouths open. A
quote from this book reveals
how he thought these bears
could potentially evolve; "I
can see no difficulty in a race
of bears being rendered, by
natural selection, more
aquatic in their structure and
habits, with larger and larger
mouths, ‘till a creature was
produced as monstrous as a
The concept that God had
not created the world and all
that was within it in only
seven days enraged the
public. One of the first
readers said "Why not accept
direct interference, rather
than evolutions of law, and
needlessly indirect or remote
action?" He soon became
embarrassed by the vast
ridicule he received and
even removed the entire
swimming-bear passage
from latter editions of the
book because he felt so
castigated. Charles Darwin,
when asked to explain his
beliefs, said that it was as if
he had to “confess to
murder.” This emphasises the
wide scepticism of the public
towards his ideas in the
nineteenth century and the
battering that Darwin had to
withstand. Except some
scientists, the general
consensus during the 1800s
was that God created the
world, as stated within the
bible. They used the bible as
a literal guide to orientate
their views on the creation of
the world.
A recent study out of the
University of Sheffield has
found that humans are still
subject to Darwin selection
that , in spite of the modern
wonders of medicine and
technology. Of course, the
idea that humans are still
evolving is one that has
never been legitimately
questioned. Though it is
technically an evolutionary
fallacy to try to predict future
evolutionary changes
because evolution does not
have a goal and it is
impossible to know for
certain what selective
pressures will be present in
the future, we might be able
to make some educated
guesses about the near
future based on current
trends. We might predict that
all humans will eventually be
born without wisdom teeth
because scientists can
speculate that our diet has
changed, meaning our
mouths are smaller. This
means that wisdom teeth are
no longer useful to the
human race. Given the
growing evidence that
humans are still evolving, it's
worth asking: What might we
be evolving into?
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