Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Aristotle's Ladder, Darwin's TreeThe Evolution of Visual Metaphors for Biological Order$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

J. Archibald

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164122

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164122.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

Deciphering Darwin’s Trees

Deciphering Darwin’s Trees

(p.80) Chapter Four Deciphering Darwin’s Trees
Aristotle's Ladder, Darwin's Tree

J. David Archibald

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines Charles Darwin's various evolutionary trees, which deal more with his attempts to understand the process of evolution than its pattern. The idea of “descent with modification,” or simply evolution, was a hotly debated topic by the early nineteenth century. The debate lacked what Darwin provided, along with Alfred Russel Wallace: a mechanism, and the mechanism was natural selection. After the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859, no one would ever look at a tree of life in the same way. This chapter looks at Darwin's tree sketches done during the 1840s and 1850s, as well as his “Big Book” that deals with evolution by means of natural selection. It also analyzes a pair of Darwin's trees with competing views on the origin of placental and marsupial mammals and another tree that reflects how Darwin saw man's place in nature.

Keywords:   evolutionary trees, Charles Darwin, evolution, natural selection, On the Origin of Species, tree of life, Big Book, mammals, nature

Columbia Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .