The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex

DARWIN, Charles Robert. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.

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DARWIN, Charles Robert. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. London: William Clowes and Sons, Limited for John Murray, 1879.

8vo. Original green cloth, boards with blind-ruled borders and panelled in blind, spine gilt; pp. xvi, 693, [1]; wood-engraved illustrations; occasional spotting, light scuff mark to spine, otherwise a very good copy indeed.
Second edition, 13th thousand. In this work, which complements On the Origin of Species, Darwin expounded fully his theory of sexual selection and discussed at length the link he recognised between human and ape lineage: "In the Origin Darwin had avoided discussing the place occupied by Homo sapiens in the scheme of natural selection, stating only that 'light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.' Twelve years later he made good his promise with The descent of man, in which he compared man's physical and psychological characteristics to similar traits in apes and other animals, showing how even man's mind and moral sense could have developed through evolutionary processes. In discussing man's ancestry Darwin did not claim that man was directly descended from apes as we know them today, but stated simply that the extinct ancestors of Homo sapiens would have to be classified among the primates; however, this statement, as misinterpreted by the popular press, caused a furore second only to that raised by the Origin" (Norman, p. 218). Freeman points out that in The Descent "the word `evolution' occurs, for the first time in any of Darwin's works" (p. 129). This book further enhanced Darwin's fame -- if not his popularity -- and is one of the most significant works in the evolutionary canon.
Freeman 951.

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