12 Feb The origin of the origin of species?
You must recognise the name Darwin, and you probably know he did
something with evolution. Maybe, you even know he noted his thoughts down in his book ‘The Origin of Species’ . But, do you know how he came to his conclusions?
Collecting puzzle parts
The 5 years Darwin spent on the HMS Beagle brought him round the world, through places that gave him parts of the puzzle:
- Skeletons of extinct animals in South America made Darwin question why Noah’s ark hadn’t saved these animals.
- Finding sea-shells high up in the Andes above fossilised trees made Darwin realise the world had to be older than anyone had ever imagined, and that it had changed over a course of centuries.
- Throughout the world he saw, seemingly, the same animals appear, yet with small differences, useful to them in their specific environment.
Galapagos is not the key
The Galapagos where actually not Darwin’s inspiration. He spent a grand total of only 17 days on the Galapagos islands. The richness in biodiversity he saw there actually just confirmed his theory of evolution instead of inspiring it.
But don’t worry if you think this is where he got his inspiration. Darwin’s finches with their specialised beak is the most used example and argument of evolution, and this example came from the Galapagos!
People who singlehandedly change the world
The observations of one man changed the world. On Darwin’s birthday, the 12th of February, we now celebrate Darwin day. On this day, we try to imagine what the world would be like if people like Darwin had not been there. Events are organised throughout the world for this, but unfortunately none in Amsterdam.
Maybe next year could be a first? What event would you like to see in commemoration of Darwin?