Wednesday, 20. February 2019, 18:30
Darwin's fossil collection from the Beagle voyage and its significance for his thinking
Adrian Lister (Natural History Museum London)
February 20, 6.30 p.m.
Charles Darwin's voyage on HMS Beagle is best known for his observations on the fauna of the Galapagos Islands, but the majority of his time on the voyage was spent on geology and fossil-collecting. This included the first discoveries of many now celebrated members of the extinct South American Pleistocene megafauna (large mammals), and the relations of these to the living fauna provided a key early stimulus to Darwin's evolutionary thinking. He also used fossils to make seminal contributions to the history of the South American continent and to the formation of coral reefs. Most of his remaining fossil collection is housed at the Natural History Museum in London, and is the flag-bearer for a major programme of digitisation and scanning of the museum's vast collection of fossil and living organisms.