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Past-Time Lover: Charles Darwin

Updated Thursday 12th February 2015

This article is part of a collection produced for Valentine’s Day. Who would you select for your Valentine from these iconic figures from history?

Profile of Charles Darwin Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Neil Arnold Charles Darwin

Likes: Nature, wildlife, mutations

Dislikes: Peacock tails

Nicknames:  'Gas'

Age: 133

Personality traits: Inquisitive, dedicated, well-travelled

A bit about me:

You may know me from my work on the theory of evolution? I published a book entitled On the Origin of Species, which provided evidence towards the theory of evolution, but also proposed my theory on how exactly evolution works. Modern biology stems from this theory and life on Earth is much better understood due to my theory of natural selection. I have become quite the household name.

My theory took route on my voyage on the HMS Beagle. As a naturalist on a Royal Navy exploring ship I was responsible for collating data on the flora and fauna as well as geology of the destinations we visited. Fossils of extinct creatures and shipments of insects and birds were shipped back to Cambridge for identification. My exploration of the Galapagos was truly remarkable! You can read all about these adventures in my journal - The Voyage of the Beagle – it won’t be wasted time, I assure you.

The main concept of my theory lies in the fact that although most offspring are very similar to their parents, they are not identical and there is always variation. Some of these variations are caused by mutations, and when these mutations turn out to be beneficial to their survival, it makes the offspring more likely to reproduce and these mutations to be passed on. It has similarities to the selective breeding of domesticated animals, where we breed those with more desirable characteristics; however natural selection occurs at the cruel hand of nature rather than man and over a much longer duration.

My work, however, caused me to live a fairly stressful life, with bouts of illness throughout. Eventually, my heart gave out and my life on this Earth ceased to be, however my name and legacy was not forgotten.

What I am looking for:

I have thought long and hard about marriage, and its implications. In my journal I weighed up my options before decided to go ahead with marriage with my previous wife, and cousin, Emma Wedgwood. My concerns were the potential terrible loss of time, being forced to visit family members and lack of evening reading for myself. However, I have concluded that to have ‘a constant companion (& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one’, an ‘object to be beloved and played with’ would be ‘better than a dog anyhow’ (from Darwin's journals, now held in the Darwin Archive in Cambridge University Library). So if you are interested in bringing my heart back to life, naturally, you should select me. Although I have spent many a day in your wallet, let me take you out with mine.

Does Darwin float your boat? Cast your vote!

This article is part of a collection produced for Valentine’s Day. Who would you select for your Valentine from these iconic figures? See the collection and cast your vote by going to Past-Time Lover.

Illustrator: Neil Arnold

 

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