On November 24th, 1859, Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Eventually shortened (thank, God) to, On the Origin of Species. First editions can easily fetch $200,000 at auction. Not all copies have been accounted for, so check your shelves. This one is owned by the American Philosophical Society, which also has a huge and entertaining collection of translations and even the draft title page that Darwin sent to Lyell. If you’re shopping for a gift for a young science fan, get Dr Jan Pechenik’s version, The Readable Darwin: The Origin of Species, As Edited for Modern Readers.
Tag Archives: charles darwin
Just a few Galapagos photographs pulled from my Instagram feed. Click or mouse-over to read captions, and email me if you have any burning questions. I only had a few seconds to take many of these shots because the tour I was on was the regular “forced march” variety, and you’re required to stay in sight of the guide. Would love to go back for a more leisurely visit, ideally with a guide who has impaired mobility and walks slowly. I’ll be posting more pictures in the coming weeks, so follow me on Instagram if you’re a Galapagos fan.
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“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most adaptable to change.”
This quote (and hundreds of mutant kin) is often attributed to the naturalist Charles Darwin, but he said no such thing (see a recent post on the true source). The mistake is everywhere: in coffee table books, in natural history museums, and even in the gift shop of the Charles Darwin Foundation (photo shown here is from their Twitter feed — click to enlarge).
This misattribution is, of course, annoying to people who admire Charles Darwin and his actual writing (he wrote ~25 books, and thousands of letters). So to fight this, I thought I’d make a few slides that might eventually get included in Google search results, and thus available to people who want to use the quote in their business management slide decks. I made three versions. Please use these slides if you are able. Share them on Twitter. Etc. Every bit helps.
The first version features a marine iguana with its mouth open, as if it was saying something. Darwin and others described these beasts as stupid looking, but the species are adapted to the islands in a rather spectacular way — individuals evolved to swim underwater and eat algae — so it’s a rather good image to use for the quote. The second is a photograph of Charles Darwin, perfect for people who like the quote but really need a photograph of the chap who clearly inspired Megginson. The third slide is a photograph of Leon C. Megginson himself. He was a professor of business management in Louisiana. Download any of the slides by clicking on the thumbnails, then save.
As proof of why we need to get the word out, please see Twitter feed below, updated to show recent Tweets that contain the quote. The phrase is especially adored by nutritionist bloggers, consultants, and business folks who spew inspirational quotes. It would be great if those quotes credited Dr Megginson.
And here’s a quote I dreamed up to explain what is going on:
“It is not the strongest of the sentences that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one that sounds most like Darwin.”
Come on, science fans, let’s stick together: all you need is a sheet of sticker paper, a printer, and a pair of scissors. Then stick these little Darwins on lunch boxes, laptops, and your friends’ backs. Or pass them out in science classes as geeky prizes for all the little barnacles. It’s his birthday. Show some love.
For all you Arabic-speaking science fans, here’s a rough translation of my Charles Darwin Has A Posse sticker for your lunch box. Sorry it’s so late … not sure you can order stickers in time for Darwin Day (February 12th), but there’s plenty of time for 2016 parties. If there’s an error in the translation, please let me know (I, um, only know how to say “hello” in Arabic).
By the way, if you’re interested in how Darwin and evolution were received in Arabic, get Reading Darwin in Arabic. Thanks to the Department of Modern Languages at Swarthmore College for the translation.
As a bonus, here’s an image courtesy the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. As part of its “Dialogues with Darwin” exhibit they had a huge wall of translations. The cover art variation was amazing.