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You may have heard of this guy. Born on this date in 1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Charles Robert Darwin (Wikipedia) would go on, in 1859, to publish On The Origin of Species, a book which is surely among the most influential ever written. In it, Darwin first proposes the idea that all of life descends from common ancestors, and that its diversity can be explained by a process of evolution driven by natural selection. He died in 1882, aged 73, and was afforded the exceedingly rare honor, especially for a scientist, of interment in Westminster Abbey.