This, coupled with the mention of the 'Creator' in the last paragraph of the book, led us to believe he was not willing to commit on the matter. An international team, led by Juli Peretó of the Cavanilles Institute in Valencia, now refutes that idea and shows that the British naturalist did explain in other documents how our first ancestors could have come into being.
"All organic beings that have lived on Earth could be descended from some primordial form", explained Darwin in The Origin of Species in 1859. Despite this statement, the scientist took it upon himself to understand the evolutional processes underlying biodiversity.
"Darwin was convinced of the incredible importance of this issue for his theory and he had an amazingly modern materialist and evolutional vision about the transition of inanimate chemical matter into living matter, despite being very aware of Pasteur's experiments in opposition to spontaneous generation", Juli Peretó, principal author of this study and researcher at the Cavanilles Institute of Evolutional Biology and Biodiversity at the University of Valencia, explains to SINC.
The study, which is published in the latest issue of the journal Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, demonstrates that Darwin had an advanced idea on the origin of the first species, and was troubled by the problem. "It is utterly wrong to think that he was invoking a divine intervention; it is also well documented that the mention of the 'Creator' in The Origin of the Species was an addition for appearance's sake that he later regretted", affirms Peretó.
According to the researchers, all Darwin's opinions on the origin of life can be found in his private correspondence and in his notebooks. The exception is a review of a book on foraminiferous microorganisms published in 1863 in the London social club Athenaeum, where Darwin "lets his opinion on the spontaneous generation be known".
The international team, comprising Spanish, US and Mexican scientists, has not only examined in detail the phrases, texts and paragraphs of the letters, but has also put into context all Darwin's opinions on the origins of life, available online and in the original manuscripts.
The origin of life hypothesis
A comment in a notebook dating back to 1837, in which Darwin explains that "the intimate relationship between the vital phenomena with chemistry and its laws makes the idea of spontaneous generation conceivable", gave the researchers their clue.
In another famous letter sent in 1871 to his friend, the English botanist and explorer Joseph D. Hooker, Charles Darwin imagines a small, warm pool where the inanimate matter would arrange itself into evolutionary matter, aided by chemical components and sufficient sources of energy.
In other letters, the naturalist admitted to colleagues such as Alfred Russel Wallace or Ernst Haeckel that spontaneous generation was important to the coherence of the theory. However, "at the same time, he acknowledged that science was not advanced enough to deal with the question (hence his reluctance to speak of it in public) and that he would not live to see it resolved", Peretó points out.
Pereto, Juli; Bada, Jeffrey L.; Lazcano, Antonio. "Charles Darwin and the Origin of Life" Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres 39(5): 395-406 octubre de 2009.
SINC | EurekAlert!
A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates
20.08.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden
Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
20.08.2018 | Information Technology
20.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy