Charles Darwin is known as the father of evolution, but he got his start as a naturalist as a young man. He took an ambitious five year journey around the year, studying thousands of species of plants and animals. Many years after his return to England, he wrote The Origin of Species, one of the most famous and influential scientific books ever written. Áki Jarl Láruson tells the story, at a meeting of evolutionary biologists in Austin, Texas.
Áki Jarl Láruson studies sea urchins at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Originally from Iceland, he was first fascinated by sea urchins when his elementary school class kept one of the exotic creatures in a salt water tank. "I didn't realize until two years into my graduate work, that was a formative moment for me in elementary school," he said. He told us that Darwin made an early discovery about sea urchins in his travels on the Beagle. In the Eastern Pacific, Darwin found a long stretch of deep, cold water that he thought might act as an invisible wall, keeping shallow water sea urchins from spreading into a wider range. Darwin was eventually proven right.
There are so many interesting stories to tell and learn about Darwin and the Voyage of the Beagle.
We gathered most of the extra information in our story in an online resource from the American Museum of Natural History.
The BBC has a wonderful interactive timeline on Darwin's life in its iWonder series.
Smithsonian Magazine features a great article that summarizes Darwin's expedition in the Galapagos Islands, which he visited on the Beagle.
Darwin Online is "the world's most widely used Darwin resource" and will steer you towards all of Darwin's books, manuscripts, letters, and many other primary sources.
Darwin and Evolution for Kids is a book for teachers that provides hands-on activities for students to learn about Darwin.
If you want to know the story in Darwin's own words, you can read his book, The Voyage of the Beagle. It's available free from Project Gutenberg.
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