The Full Title of the “Origin of Species”

Everything Dinosaur team members get sent in to their offices lots of questions about dinosaurs, fossils and general science.   Over the last few months we have received a number of emails and letters with questions about Sir Charles Darwin, evolution and natural selection.  This is not surprising really as next year (2009), marks the 200th anniversary of this great scientist’s birth.  Next year, it is also the 150th anniversary of the publication of his ground breaking work “The Origin of Species”.

One of the questions our team members were asked recently was:

“What is the full title of the book about natural selection written by Charles Darwin?”

Charles Darwin wrote many books, papers, articles for journals and so forth.  He also entered into a great deal of correspondence in his lifetime, on a huge range of subjects from the formation of coral atolls, to the behaviour of dogs and how they befriend mankind to the musical preferences of earthworms.

His most famous book “The Origin of Species” was published in 1859 and went through several re-prints during Darwin’s lifetime.  The full title of this highly influential tome is:

“The Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”.

John Murray was the first publisher, perhaps for all our sakes, the book rapidly became a huge best-seller and its popularity ensured that the full title was not used that often, the book simply being referred to, more often than not as “The Origin of Species”.

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