Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Darwin's Fossils Discovered After 165 Years

Researchers have stumbled upon a massive collection of fossils belonging to the late, great evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin in a dark corner of the British Geological Survey. Paleontologist Dr. Howard Falcon-Lang says he found the collection of 314 fossils belonging to Darwin, as well as some belonging to his contemporaries such as John Hooker and Rev. John Henslow, in a large, old wooden cabinet that looked like it hadn't been touched in years. Many of the fossils were encased in glass slides, some of which bore the signature of "C. Darwin Esq."

Some of the fossils were from Darwin's famed voyage aboard the HMS Beagle, a journey that prompted him to pursue studying his theory of natural selection. The specimens are from fossilized trees and plants collected by the men before Hooker, a botanist with the British Geological Survey, put them all together in 1846. However, Hooker failed to properly number the collection before setting out on a Himalayan expedition in 1851, leading the collection to bounce around from geological museum to geological museum over the course of the next century-and-a-half.


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