Darwin on Earthworms

Darwin on Earthwormsby Charles Darwin

Highly recommended reading. This is a rare and classic book that is now out of print.  It is written by Darwin just before he died.

Charles Darwin was best known for his theory of evolution. He wrote the book “the origin of species”.  Less well known is that Darwin spent quite a bit of time studying earthworms.

Initially, his earthworm work drew as much, or more, attention as his evolution work. His book, The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms, With Observations on Their Habits, published in 1881, sold even better than On the Origin of Species during Darwin’s lifetime.

Darwin began his observations on earthworms as a young man, but abandoned them to fiddle around with revolutionizing biology. It was only late in life that he returned to his worm pursuits.

“At the time when Darwin started looking at the worms, no one appreciated the role they had in agriculture,” says Alun Anderson, a journalist who became interested in Darwin’s worm work.

In fact, Anderson says, in the mid 19th century, most people thought earthworms were pests.

But Darwin was convinced they were valuable for turning over the soil, in part by chewing it up and pooping it out, thereby making it more fertile.

To find out how fast the worms were turning the soil, Darwin did experiments. He spread small coal stones across a field behind his house and left them for 20 or 30 years. Then, he dug a trench across the land and looked in the walls of the trench to see how far down the stones had sunk through the action of the worms.

This fascinating book is a must have for anyone interested in the earthworm.

Brand new Hardback: $199.00   Brand new soft cover:  $149

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