Charles Darwin was famous for his theory of evolution, which challenged the prevailing theory of the creation of the earth and changed people's thinking regarding the natural world. Along with naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin laid the foundation of thought that gave scientific evidence showing the possibility that all species of life descended from common ancestors by a process of natural selection.
Other accomplishments of Darwin include his 1859 book, "On the Origin of Species." The controversial book put forth the premise of natural selection, a theory Darwin began to develope while in the Galapagos Islands observing and making a survey of various life forms, including variations in finches that inhabited the different islands. His theory proposed that species change over time and adapt to their environment by passing on inherited characteristics to their offspring based on the success of those biological traits.
Darwin's theory proposed that human beings also evolved based on natural selection rather than being created by God, as understood in biblical teachings. The possibility that humans may have descended from apes was contrary to the teachings of Christianity. He was harshly criticized by the Church but his theory was soon accepted by the scientific community and has become part of mainstream scientific theory. Darwin was buried in Westminster Abbey.