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Charles Robert Darwin. Wellcome Library, London. Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron.

2009 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, arguably one of the UK's most influential scientists. It is also the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book 'On the Origin of Species', which included his famous theory of evolution by natural selection.

In this book, Darwin invoked the idea of the 'tree of life', a way to describe the evolutionary relationships between all living things on Earth.

"The affinities of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented by a great tree...As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these, if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications."

Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, 1859

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