Portal:Crustaceans/Selected biography/2

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Charles Darwin

Charles Robert Darwin FRS (February 12, 1809 – April 19, 1882) was an English naturalist who established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection. In 1846, Darwin returned to a fascination in marine invertebrates, dating back to his student days with Robert Edmond Grant, by dissecting and classifying the barnacles (Cirripedia) he had collected on his voyages. In the following eight years of work on barnacles, Darwin's theory of natural selection helped him to find homologies, showing that slightly changed body parts served different functions to meet new conditions, and in some genera he found minute males parasitic on hermaphrodites, showing an intermediate stage in the evolution of distinct sexes. In 1853, this work earnt Darwin the Royal Society's Royal Medal, and it made his reputation as a biologist. Even without publication of his works on evolution, Darwin would have had a considerable reputation as the author of The Voyage of the Beagle, as a geologist who had published extensively on South America and had solved the puzzle of the formation of coral atolls, and as a biologist who had published the definitive work on barnacles.