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Infographic of the Day: The Evolution of Charles Darwin’s Magnum Opus

origin of species

It took Charles Darwin twenty years to finally publish On the Origin of Species, which laid out what’s been called the greatest idea in history–the theory of natural selection. Naturally, in the 13 years following it’s first edition, Darwin tweaked and refined his magnum opus.

In his new work Ben Fry, one of the demi-gods of infographics, documents every one of those changes, in a piece titled “The Preservation of Favoured Traces”–a play on Darwin’s famous turn of phrase, the preservation of favored traits. It’s a mammoth work–You have to click the link to appreciate how fine grained and well executed the graphic is. Read closely, and you can see Darwin’s genius at work.

If you’re not familiar with Ben Fry’s name, you know his work: With Casey Reas, he invented Processing, which has become the standard software for creating beautiful information graphics. It’s an insanely flexible program–you can check out a selection of works that use it here.

[Via Flowing Data]

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