On the Origin of Species On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was published on November 24 1859. The records of John Murray the publisher indicate 1250 copies were printed and that it sold out the first day to the booksellers. Natural Selection Darwin of course did not discover evolution. The idea that species evolved had been around for some time. The problem was that no one had offered a convincing explanation of how they evolved. Until Darwin. He called it natural selection. Considering its incredible explanatory power the theory of natural selection is remarkably simple. Limited resources there isnt enough food for all the offspring produced leads to competition. Some individuals will do better than others because they happen to have certain characteristics that give them an edge speed strength etc. Because those individuals are more likely to survive they are more likely to reproduce and pass on their characteristics to their offspring. Thus the population of a species evolves as more and more individuals are born and survive who have inherited the characteristics that provide advantage. When T.H. Huxley first read the Origin he said How extremely stupid not to have thought of that. A simple idea but a challenge to accepted wisdom and faith.