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A Journey through Time: Revisiting the Landfalls of Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle

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In 1831, at the age of 22, Charles Darwin set off on a voyage around the world that lasted almost 5 years. What Darwin discovered foremost was the vastness of time and its dramatic cumulative effects in geology. After he returned, his theory of biological evolution arose with a parallel reliance on deep time. More recently, the specific biological and cultural worlds that Darwin visited have often vanished or changed dramatically since his voyage in ways that have remained poorly documented as a whole. On the other hand, some places – typically now in reserves or parks – contain landscapes exactly as Darwin described them, albeit with different scientific interpretations. For over 15 years, I have retraced Darwin’s inland journeys in S. American countries, New Zealand, Australia, Mauritius, S. Africa, and numerous small islands (such as Cocos-Keeling, St. Helena, Ascension, Terceira, the Falklands, and the Galapagos) to write a book with the theme of time, including the “then and now” of Darwin’s voyage, some aspects of which I will share.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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