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Darwin on the evolution trail

Animation movie
9mn 38s



Curious by nature, the young Charles Darwin embarks on a voyage around the world as naturalist aboard the Beagle. At the time he was not to know that it was to be the beginning of a sensational scientific breakthrough. For five years he collects, observes and annotates everything he discovers in the other worlds. Back in England, he continues to work tirelessly on his extensive collections and finally, 20 years later, he publishes the fruit of his work: "On the Origin of Species” - the volume which enables us to explain the emergence and the extinction of species by natural selection. Follow the observations and thought processes of Darwin, this extraordinary figure, whose theories were to challenge generally accepted wisdom. 

Official selection at "SCINEMA 2009", "Pariscience 2009", "Science Film Festival Thailand 2009", "A nous de voir 2009", "Vedere la Scienza Festival 2010" and "Documentary Film Festival - 360 Dok 2011".


Director: Yannick Mahé - Script: Yannick Mahé - Illustrations: Gilles Macagno - Animation: Sandra Lenquette - Voices: Hester Wilcox & Kester Lovelace - Sound design: Ludovic Sagnier - Sound editing: Marie-Odile Dupont - Video editing: Yannick Mahé - Production: CNDP (2009) 

Scientific expert

Jean Gayon

Jean Gayon

Institut d'histoire et de philosophie des sciences et des techniques, Paris 1/CNRS/ENS, France
History and Philosophy of Biology

« Would the theory of evolution have existed without Darwin? Certainly yes. When Darwin published "On the Origin of Species", the idea had been widely discussed for half a century. Some fragments of what became Darwin's theory were also evident in the work of others. Furthermore, the principle of natural selection was co-discovered by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. These two men conjointly published a paper on this subject a year before Darwin's Origin. What we owe to Darwin is the extraordinary theoretical synthesis that he elaborated. In this book, he provided convincing arguments in favour of the existence of natural selection, and he also showed how this hypothesis could unify and explain the totality of the facts that together constitute the history of life. Darwin also clearly anticipated the effects of his discovery upon philosophy, the human sciences, morals and religion. Without him, this scientific and cultural revolution would have happened sooner or later, but without doubt it would have taken much more time and many more arguments to get there.»


Canopé Ludwig Maximilians Universität München Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster