If you go over to The Preservation of Favoured Traces, you will able see how Charles Darwin changed and edited The Origin of the Species from the 1st to the 6th edition.

The first English edition was approximately 150,000 words and the sixth is a much larger 190,000 words. In the changes are refinements and shifts in ideas — whether increasing the weight of a statement, adding details, or even a change in the idea itself. The second edition, for instance, adds a notable “by the Creator” to the closing paragraph, giving greater attribution to a higher power. In another example, the phrase “survival of the fittest” — usually considered central to the theory and often attributed to Darwin — instead came from British philosopher Herbert Spencer, and didn’t appear until the fifth edition of the text. Using the six editions as a guide, we can see the unfolding and clarification of Darwin’s ideas as he sought to further develop his theory during his lifetime

Here is a quick video to illustrate this – I set the visualisation on fast – and if you hold your cursor over a section of text it pops up and you can see the changes made with each edition.

I find it fascinating to view in a view seconds the changes it took Darwin 12 years to write and my hat goes off to Ben Fry and his team for tackling and completing this project.

Thanks to TEDBlog for the original posting.

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