Tag Archives: charles darwin

It is not the strongest of the species that survives

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most adaptable to change.”

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most adaptable to change Charles DarwinThis quotation is one of the most popular and misattributed phrases on the internet — most people think it’s something Charles Darwin wrote. He didn’t. It’s from Leon Megginson, a Louisiana professor of business management.

To encourage proper attribution, I thought I’d seed the internet with three images that give Dr Megginson his credit. The hope is that these images might eventually get included in Google search results when people are searching for pre-made slides that have the quote.

It is not the strongest species that surviveThe first version features a Galapagos marine iguana with its mouth open, as if it was saying something. It’s actually yawning, so use cautiously if you are a boring speaker.

The second slide is a photograph of Leon C. Megginson himself, looking confident in front of chalkboard.

The final image is a photograph of Charles Darwin, the man who clearly inspired Megginson.

It is not the strongest of the species that survivesAs proof of why we need to get the word out about the quote’s source, here’s a feed showing how all the recent usage on Twitter.:

Most of the tweets are from nutritionists, motivational speakers, and business management types.

By the way, the misattribution exists even among people who should know better. E.g., the quote is found on the wall of the Charles Darwin Foundation’s gift shop, and on the floor of the California Academy of Science.

If you need an actual quote from Darwin, there are hundreds of thousands to choose from. Just browse Darwin Online for all his books (~42 of them!), articles (~246), letters, and notebooks. There’s also the Darwin Correspondence Project.

Stickers for Darwin fans

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.

charles darwin, evolution, science, sticker, has a posse

Tree of life tattoo for evolution fans

For giggles, I modified Charles Darwin’s tree of life sketch and sent it to a company that manufactures temporary tattoos. If you happen to be model quality and would like to help promote science, drop me a line and I can send you one. I think it’s good to have images like these show up during searches for “evolution” and “survival of the fittest” so that the public doesn’t just associate evolution with just old academics with questionable grooming (sadly, true).

Girl with pink Victoria's Secret panties and a Charles Darwin tree of life tattoo on stomach

I also dropped the image into Redbubble if you need a sticker or laptop case (for example). Here’s the original sketch, if you’re curious:

Charles Darwin's tree of life sketch