Giovanni Canestrini, professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy in Padua from 1869 to 1900, was a convinced evolutionist and made every effort to promote the Theory of Evolution in Italy. It was he who produced the first Italian translation of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” (based on the 3rd edition of 1861), edited jointly with Leonardo Salimbeni for the publishing house Zanichelli and published in 1864 with the author’s consent. Canestrini corresponded extensively with Darwin, making an original contribution to the evolution debate, and was active even before Darwin himself in gathering evidence to support the idea of human evolution. In 1867 Canestrini published “Abnormal and rudimentary characteristics concerning the origin of man”, to which Darwin made reference in his subsequent work “The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex” (1871).