The blast furnaces that powered the Industrial Revolution had only just begun belching clouds of carbon into the sky when, in 1860, Charles Darwin encouraged a Victorian nobleman to maintain accurate data on an intriguing herd of cattle living feral in the grounds of his medieval castle.
Survival of the fittest...or just lucky?
This past 150 years are widely seen as the golden age of biology – when it began to seem that all life is understandable and will soon be understood; and that what can be understood can and should be controlled for our own benefit. In 1859, in the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin first explained the mechanism of evolution "by means of natural selection". Then Gregor Mendel described the units of heredity now known as genes; then, in the early decades of the 20th century, Darwin's notions were fused with Mendel's to create "neodarwinism" – evolution conceived as a shift in the content of gene pools of populations.
Evolutionary theory says yes – but that's not the whole story.
After all the Darwin celebrations, a controversial new book aims to undermine major parts of his scientific legacy. Peter Forbes looks at the arguments and asks scientists if the critics have a case
Creation declares in an opening caption that it's going to tell the story of how Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany) came to write On the Origin of Species, but, in fact, for the bulk of the film, most of the book is already written.
A first edition of Charles Darwin's groundbreaking Origin Of Species, which languished for years in a toilet, will go under the hammer this week, on the 150th anniversary of the book's publication.
A coruscating courtroom battle
An exhibition exploring how artists have been inspired by Darwin's theory of evolution is the best of this year's anniversary shows, says Tom Lubbock
Lonesome George, the world's most inveterate bachelor, may finally be about to settle down.
British conservationists are to launch an ambitious project to safeguard the future of a colony of Galapagos finches which inspired Charles Darwin to formulate his radical theory of evolution.
Walk of the month: On this walk you can see the landscape that inspired Shropshire lad A E Housman, writes Mark Rowe
If all species were designed, it was hardly by someone intelligent
From the back of a £10 note to the awards in his name that celebrate those who remove themselves from the gene pool by dying in foolish ways, Charles Darwin's legacy is everywhere. He has been on more stamps than anyone save members of the royal family, and yesterday the Royal Mail unveiled another one, to celebrate 2009 as the 200th anniversary of his birth, and the 150th of the publication of his landmark work, The Origin of Species. But that's not the only way the occasion is being marked, and Darwin's influence is felt in far more profound ways than his popular cultural contributions to this day.
Risk of babies having genetic defects 'has been overstated'
The answer, for men, would seem to be castration. Better than drink: it takes away both performance and desire. Plato, in The Republic, has Sophocles say that the end of sexual yearning is like escaping from a vicious tyrant, usually quoted as "being unchained from a lunatic". Visions of the madman vary; I always picture him naked, wild-haired and bearded, a bit like Terry Jones in Monty Python, capering and scampering into the distance across a rain-swept Clapham Common. The writer Guy Kennaway, in his memoir Sunbathing Naked, writes: "The chain broke, and I was the madman."