Darwin

A Thousand Years Before Darwin, Islamic Scholars Were Writing About Natural Selection

In the summer of 1837, Charles Darwin drew a rudimentary sketch in his notebook, lines of ink that branched out from another. This tree-like doodle would come to represent his theory of evolution by natural selection, a way to visualize how plants and animals adapt in response to their environments. On the top of the page, Darwin scrawled the words, “I think.”

When many students are taught about evolution they learn about Darwin, how he observed bird beaks on the Gal├ípagos Islands, and pieced together one of history’s most significant biological puzzles.

But this narrative, focusing on a singular person’s “I think,” omits a long history of humans contemplating how organisms change over time. Evolutionary musings have existed before Darwin, and some professors and museums are now striving to include that neglected history in curriculums and exhibitions.

Recently, New York University professor James Higham tweeted about how he updated the

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