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Darwinism facts for kids

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Editorial cartoon depicting Charles Darwin as an ape (1871)
As "Darwinism" became widely accepted in the 1870s, cariacatures of Charles Darwin with an ape or monkey body symbolised evolution.

Darwinism is a term used to talk about ideas connected to those Charles Darwin had about evolution. The meaning of 'Darwinism' has changed over time, and depends on who uses the term.


  1. Within any population, there is natural variation. Some individuals have more favourable variations than others.
  2. Even though all species produce a large number of offsprings, populations remain fairly constant naturally.
  3. This is due to the struggle between members of the same species and different species for food, space, and mate.
  4. The struggle for survival within populations eliminates the unfit individuals. The fit individuals possessing favourable variations survive and reproduce. This is called natural selection (or survival of the fittest).
  5. The individuals having favourable variations pass on these variations to their progeny from generation to generation.
  6. These variations when accumulated over a long period of time, lead to the origin of new species.


The term was coined by Thomas Henry Huxley in April 1860. He used it to describe evolutionary concepts, including similar ideas such as Malthusianism and Spencerism. In the late 19th century it came to mean the concept that natural selection was the only mechanism of evolution, in contrast to Lamarckism. Around 1900, Gregor Mendel's work was rediscovered. Today, Darwin and Mendel's ideas have been brought together. The term 'Darwinism' has become associated with the modern evolutionary synthesis.

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