Charles Darwin, an English naturalist and geologist, is best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors and, in a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace, introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted in a process he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.
Darwin published his theory of evolution with compelling evidence this date, in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, overcoming scientific rejection of earlier concepts. Darwin’s work established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. In 1871, Darwin examined human evolution and sexual selection in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.
Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history and was honored by burial in Westminster Abbey.