The Descent of Man is quite simply one of the most important and influential books ever written; further, it is one of the very few groundbreaking works of science that is truly readable.
Published in 1871, Darwin’s The Descent of Man is the companion volume to his groundbreaking 1859 On the Origin of Species, in which he introduced natural selection as the primary mechanism of evolution.
In it, Darwin accounts for religion, morality, ethics, evolutionary psychology and the ancestral roots of human anatomy in an accessible and humane (albeit sprawling) tome.
More than half of the work is about the mechanisms of sexual selection, including evidence for the process across the entire animal kingdom.
Darwin proposed that the evolution of such features was driven by female choice from among a range of possible mates.
He speculated that the female chose on the basis of what passed for beautiful or extravagant signs of male virility and power.
Applying his controversial theories of evolution to the origins of the human species, Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man was the culmination of his life's work.
CHARLES DARWIN (1809-1882) was the first evolutionary biologist, best known for his controversial and trailblazing The Origin of Species, introducing the groundbreaking concept of natural selection, marking a new epoch in the scientific world.