M994.104.1.5.48 | "The Origin of Species a la Darwin"

 
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"The Origin of Species a la Darwin"
1872, 19th century
Ink on paper - Photolithography
23.5 x 18.2 cm
Gift of Mrs. G. M. Butler
M994.104.1.5.48
© McCord Museum
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Keys to History

On November 24, 1859, Charles Darwin published his great work, "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life". The book established the theory of organic evolution by natural selection. Its publication generated an international controversy between those who accepted the new theory, the Darwinists, and the Creationists, who took a literal interpretation of the Bible and believed the world to be about 6,000 years old. The principal of McGill University, Sir William Dawson (1820-1899), a fervent Christian, lead the anti-Darwinists in Canada at the end of the Victorian era. As a geologist he knew that Earth was serveral million years old, but he could not accept that mankind was related to the monkey.

  • What

    The cartoon is a wood engraving.

  • Where

    The illustration was published in Montreal in the Canadian Illustrated News.

  • When

    The gaps in Darwin's theory of evolution, which were the reason for William Dawson's rejection of the theory, were not filled in until the 20th century and its advances in the study of genetics.

  • Who

    Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882) was an English naturalist who introduced the theory of evolution by natural selection in his monumental work "On the Origin of Species".