Happy birthday to Charles Darwin! The famed naturalist was born on this day in 1809.
Happiest at home with his notebooks and his microscope, he shunned the public eye. Controversy made him ill. This brilliant observer of nature kept his most original and revolutionary idea under wraps for decades. Yet today, two centuries after Charles Darwin’s birth, nearly everyone knows his name. What did Darwin do, and why does he still matter so much?
Learn more about this compelling figure in our online exhibition, Darwin.
Darwin published only one tree of life in his lifetime, a foldout that appears in On The Origin of Species. But Darwin drew many trees over his career, including this one for primates, the last one he was known to produce, dated April 21, 1868. Learn more about these trees.
Did you know? We may have Darwin’s children to thank for the surviving handwritten pages of the naturalist’s On the Origin of Species manuscript. Most of the original 600 pages are lost, and of the 45 pages that exist today, many were repurposed by Darwin’s brood of 10 children as art supplies! Read more.
Finally, the AMNH Darwin Manuscripts Project is a historical and textual edition of Charles Darwin’s scientific manuscripts. The database at its core catalogues some 96,000 pages of Darwin scientific manuscripts. Check it out.