Charles Darwin History and Galapagos Islands

By: Eric Castro

January 04 1837

This was a big day for Darwin. Today he gave his first speech before the Royal Geological Society in London. He was very nervous! All the experts in geology were there and this was Darwin's big chance to prove himself to his peers. The topic of his paper was on the gradual raising of South America over eons of time. He concluded that as land masses raise upward, the nearby ocean floor subsides, and that the animals on the raising continent somehow or another adapt to these very slow changes (at this time Darwin had no idea how this happened).

This theory represented a shift away from Lyell's theory which stated that animals cannot adapt, but rather die out and are replaced with new species. This was one of the earliest signs that Darwin was beginning to develop his own theories, going beyond his mentors. The speech, by the way, was received very well by nearly all the geologists there.

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