Monday, October 20, 2014

Evolution Expressed As A Poem


You would almost certainly have heard of Charles Darwin, and his theory of evolution in his book On the Origin of Species. But it is likely that you have never heard of his equally distinguished grandfather Erasmus Darwin. Erasmus also believed in evolution of species by natural selection, and in his case he summed it all up in the poem below, that describes how Life began in the seas, and developed into “breathing realms of fin and feet and wing” [of fish, mammals and birds.]

Organic life below the shoreless waves
Was born and nurs’d in ocean’s pearly caves;
First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass,
Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass;
These, successive generations bloom,
New powers acquire and larger limbs assume;
Whence countless groups of vegetation spring,

And breathing realms of fin and feet and wing.

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