Darwin and the Voyage

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A podcast from earlier in the year, celebrating Darwin’s birthday. A few essays focusing on Darwin’s Voyage on The Beagle Bon Voyage HMS Beagle The Voyage of the Beagle Darwin Crossing The Atlantic Charles Darwin and the Rain Forest Darwin Gets his Wellies Wet South America on Five Dollars a Day Bugs (Darwin) Darwin South…

In 1833, Darwin spent a fair amount of time on the East Coast of South America, including in the Pampas, where he had access to abundant fossil material. Here I’d like to examine his writings about some of the megafauna, including Toxodon, Mastodon, and horses, and his further considerations of biogeography and evolution.

Everyone knows about Darwin’s Finches, of the Galapagos Islands. But of course, Darwin made observations of birds throughout his travels on The Beagle. Here, I present a number of passages from The Voyage that include some of these observations.

Charles Darwin wrote a book called Geological Observations on South America. Since Fitzroy needed to carry out intensive and extensive coastal mapping in South America, and Darwin was, at heart, a geologist more than anything else (at least during the Beagle’s voyage), this meant that Darwin would become the world’s expert on South American geology.…

Darwin and the Voyage: 08 ~ The Gauchos

We’re half way through Darwin Month, and only a tiny ways through the voyage. Need to hurry up! So, let’s skip ahead a bit and hit the Gauchos…. (This is a modified version of a post from my old blog).

Eventually, the Beagle headed south to the area of Uruguay and Argentina, still on the Atlantic Coast, where extensive mapping of the coastal waters was required.

Darwin and the Voyage: 06 ~ Bugs

When reading the Voyage, it is impossible to miss the observation that much of the time Darwin was engaged in adolescent boy behavior: Pulling the heads off insects, noting how long they would wiggle after cut in half, closely examining the ooze and guts, occupied much of his time. Obviously, careful observation and a strong…

What do you eat when you are traveling the world in search of truth about the natural world? Most of the time Darwin ate pretty well…

I became acquainted with an Englishman who was going to visit his estate … more than a hundred miles [north] of Cape Frio. As I was quite unused to travelling, I gladly accepted his kind offer of allowing me to accompany him. And so was the case with a number of Darwin’s excursions into the…

The first time I read the following passage from The Voyage, I was reminded of my own first experience in a rain forest (in Zaire). Evident in this passage is at least a glimmering of Darwin’s appreciation for the complexity of ecosystems. Darwin could be considered the first scientific ecologist. Enough of my commentary ……