Despite the controversy, evolution was widely accepted by many naturalists within a few years of the Origin’s appearance. An important reason for this rapid triumph was Darwin’s botanical works. Seen through evolutionary eyes, plants proved to be mobile, carnivorous, sensitive – even crafty.
As Darwin “exalted” his favourite flowers, the orchids, he also narrowed the once-unimaginably wide gap between plants and animals, thus making it easier for his readers to imaginatively bridge the much smaller distance between humans and apes.
Jim is Visiting Gresham Professor in the History of Science.
He is Professor of the History of Science at the University of Sussex and specialises in Victorian natural history and the modern genetics and has presented programmes for BBC Radio 4.
Professor Endersby's lecture series are as follows:
2020/21 Darwin's Descent: Monkeys, Orchids and Myths
2019/20 Utopian Gardens
All lectures by the Visiting Professor in the History of Science can be accessed here.