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  How Did We Get Here 1859

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15  How Did We Get Here 1859 
HE WAS THE first scientist to come up with a compelling alternative to the biblical account of creation. Observing plants and animals during a five-year voyage around the world, Charles Darwin concluded that evolution explains the diversity of living things. In Origin of Species (1859), the English naturalist posited that random mutations may help an organism--a Galáápagos finch, say--adapt to its environment. Better equipped for survival, it would also be more likely to pass advantages on to its offspring. Over generations, this process of "natural selection" might give rise to whole new species. Indeed, all life might be descended from a few primitive organisms. Darwin was denounced as a heretic, especially for hinting at an ancestral link between humans and apes. But his theory's elegance--its ability to explain so many phenomena that had seemed whims of nature--prevailed. Today evolution is as basic to most people's world view as the idea that the earth circles the sun. 

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