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Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" can be called one of the most important works in the history of science. It evolved over 13 years, published in 6 editions; for instance, the famous notion of "survival of the fittest" did not appear until the 5th edition of the text.

Ben Fry visualizes all the edits and additions introduced in each edition of the work in his latest project titled "On the Origin of Species: The Preservation of Favoured Traces" [benfry.com]. The different revisions are color-coded over a greeked version of the text at pixel-scale. The visualization starts with a full display of the 1st edition, and presents a "replay" of the order of edits over time, with the edits from the 2nd edition building up from left to right, over to the 3rd, and so on...

The data stems from Dr. John van Wyhe, et al. who run The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online.

This post was written by Moritz Stefaner, a researcher and freelance practitioner in the field of information aesthetics. Occasionally, he blogs at well-formed-data.net.