Washington, October 28 (ANI): An international team of researchers has determined that although Charles Darwin deliberately avoided some important facts in his book 'The Origin of Species' 150 years ago, he did have advanced ideas about the origin of life, and he did explain in other documents how our first ancestors could have come into being.
When Charles Darwin published 'The Origin of Species' 150 years ago, he deliberately avoided the subject of the origin of life.
This, coupled with the mention of the 'Creator' in the last paragraph of the book, led many to believe he was not willing to commit on the matter.
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", said Juli Pereto of the Cavanilles Institute in Valencia.
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.
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. (ANI)