What Is the Full Title of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution?


Jane Flores

The full title of Darwin’s theory of evolution is “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”. This book was first published in 1859 and is considered to be one of the most important works in the history of science.

The Background

Charles Darwin was a naturalist who traveled extensively, studying different species and their habitats. He observed that species were not fixed but could change over time.

He also noticed that some species were better adapted to their environments than others. These observations led him to develop his theory of evolution.

The Theory

Darwin’s theory proposes that all species have descended from common ancestors and that natural selection is the mechanism by which this occurs. Natural selection is the process by which certain traits become more or less common in a population over time depending on how well they enable individuals to survive and reproduce.


For example, imagine a population of birds with different beak sizes. If the environment changes such that larger seeds become more abundant, birds with larger beaks will have an advantage over those with smaller beaks since they can more easily crack open these seeds. Over time, the proportion of birds with larger beaks will increase while those with smaller beaks will decrease.

The Title

The title “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” reflects both Darwin’s theory and his belief in its importance. The phrase “origin of species” refers to his proposal that all living things are related through common ancestry while “natural selection” describes how this process occurs.

The phrase “preservation of favoured races” reflects Darwin’s belief that natural selection leads to the survival and reproduction of individuals with advantageous traits, leading to changes in populations over time. The phrase “struggle for life” emphasizes the competitive nature of natural selection.


Darwin’s theory of evolution has had a profound impact on our understanding of the natural world. It has been supported by numerous lines of evidence and has been refined over time as new information has become available. The full title of his book reflects both the importance and complexity of his theory, and serves as a reminder of the ongoing search for knowledge about the origins and diversity of life on Earth.