Tag Archives: the secret history of evolution

Darwin’s Ghosts by Rebecca Stott

0927 Darwin v1 lores

I, like 99.9% of people, immediately think of Charles Darwin when the topic of evolution or natural selection comes up. After he wrote The Origin of Species in 1859, Darwin became one of the most equally admired and hated figures in the scientific community. Amidst all the hate mail, he received a letter that was puzzling rather than inflammatory. It accused him not of heresy, but of criminal forgetfulness.

Where were his forebears mentioned at all? Clearly he didn’t think to presume he’d come up with the theory of evolution all on his own!

Stott has put together a rather dense and detailed book righting Darwin’s 150 year old wrong. She has outlined many of his forgotten evolutionary predecessors, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Denis Diderot, Aristotle, and several other (much less well-known) names. Back story is given to each, and a new breath of life is pumped into these unsung heroes of science. (God, I’m a nerd!)

While some chapters/scientists were more interesting than others, I found the content to be a bit too dry for easy reading. I could understand everything they were talking about, but at certain points it began to feel like an assigned reading for a biology class. My eyes glazed over a bit.

I definitely learned a lot, but I’m not sure how much of it I could repeat back to you–if that makes sense.

3 Galapagos finches of 5