Charles Darwin and his trip to the Galapagos Islands

Charles Darwin, his book “The Origin of Species”, and the theory of evolution will always be associated with the Galapagos Islands. If you’ve been to the islands, then you’ll attest when I say that they’re home to some of the most extraordinary and unique animal species, including, but not limited to rays, sharks, sea lions, fur seals, iguanas, and giant tortoises.

To top off the astounding fauna, Galapagos island’s plants are just as mind-blowing. Throughout the highlands, you will find trees that evolved from daisies and others that are covered in striking lichens and mosses. In the lowlands, on the other hand, you will find lots of cacti plants that have astonishingly adapted to the region’s climate, which is usually cool at night but hotter during the day.

That said, today, we’re going to talk about Charles Darwin’s expedition on the islands and how it contributed to his thoughts that would later result in his book “The Origin of Species.”

Charles Darwin’s Expedition

Born in the merchant township of Shrewsbury, England on Feb 12, 1809, Darwin was the 4 th of six kids. And one of the main things that sparked his interest in science was the fact he came from a long line of scientists. Dr. Erasmus Darwin, his grandfather was a celebrated botanist whereas Dr. Robert W Darwin, his father was a medical doctor.

So after completing his studies at Cambridge’s Christ’s College at the age of 22, Charles Darwin decided to pursue his passion for collecting insects, plants and geological specimens. In 1831, the young man started his 5-year expedition aboard the HMS Beagle after persuading the Captain, Robert FitzRoy, to let him tag along as the ship’s naturalist.

The voyage started on December 27 th , 1831 at Plymouth bay and ended on October 2 nd , 1836 in Falmouth. The first specimens Darwin collected were plankton and marine invertebrates that he found on the boat. Captain Fitzroy’s mission, on the other hand, was to create accurate maps and charts of the region since new trade relations were being established with South America and the coastline was uncharted at the time. The first destination the boat stopped at was the western side of Africa: Cape Verde’s archipelago to be more specific. Here, Darwin studied the beaches’ formations, but soon after the boat left for Brazil: Where Darwin had the opportunity to admire and collect species in the Amazon Rain Forest.

From Brazil, they left for Bahia Blanca, Argentina, where Darwin explored sea shells and fossils of big extinct mammals. In fact, these are what sparked the young man’s interest in the mutability of species.

The last destination they checked out before reaching the Galapagos Islands was Chile. Here, Darwin saw a powerful earthquake that awarded him the chance to witness the uplifting of the layers. This, coupled with the marine evidence that he came across in the mountainous regions of Peru, led Darwin to better understand that geological uplifting and movements usually result in the formation of coral reefs and sinking of islands.

Charles Darwin Journey

Getting to the Galapagos IslandsBeagle Charles Darwin

When they got to the Galapagos Islands four years later, Charles Darwin definitely got more than he had bargained for. Remember, Darwin was initially only interested in the island’s volcanoes, but it’s the unique flora and fauna that would leave a lasting impression on him.

After arriving on September 15, 1835, the HMS Beagle and Darwin stayed in Galapagos for two months. And during this period, Darwin had the chance to tour a handful of islands, where he collected multiple Galapagos specimens for research purposes.

Some of the islands he checked out include Santiago, Isabela, Floreana, and San Cristobal.

San Cristobal was the first island he checked out from September 16 th , 1835. Here, he carefully studied how the lava flows then went on to theorize about its formation. The second Island he explored aboard the Beagle was Floreana.

At Floreana, Darwin had the opportunity to gather species and collect the second bird that would lead to his important conclusions later on. This bird was the Floreana Mockingbird.

The third island was Isabela, and he went there on September 29 th , 1835. In his field book, Darwin described this island as the most uninhabited and volcanically active of all.

The last, but by no means the least island Darwin disembarqued on was Santiago. He went there on October 8 th . It was also the island where he spent the most time. At this point he understood that the islands were a bit more special than he had first thought when he arrived, so he explored the entire island accompanied by several crew members who were there to help him carry the specimens he was collecting.

Santiago was the first place he also realized that tortoises from all islands were different and had evolved to different sizes and shapes depending on their surroundings and feeding characteristics.

Darwin left the Galapagos Islands on 10/20/1835.

What’s more, all the specimens he collected across the islands would go on to be the same ones that Darwin would use to illustrate his controversial theory of evolution.

Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

During Darwin’s expedition to the Galapagos aboard the HMS Beagle in the 1830s, he realized that certain animal species (finches for instance) were typically the same from one island to the next, but each one of them had succeeded in adapting to their specific environs in different ways.

One of the features that puzzled Darwin was the bird’s beaks. He noticed that they all had slightly distinct shapes that made each specific bird fitter for survival on its island.

Today, there are 26 species of birds native to the Galapagos Islands and 14 of them make up the cluster known as Darwin’s Finches. This group of birds is also considered one of the fastest evolving vertebrates in the world.

Charles Darwin’s Theory of Endemic Species

The idea and theory of endemic species was also central to Charles Darwin’s arguments in his book. For those not accustomed to this theory, it explains why certain species can only be found in specific locations around the world and not elsewhere on the planet.

With this theory, he, once again, used the Galapagos Islands to explain and prove his concept. In his book, he wrote:

“This fact might have been expected on my theory for, as already explained, species occasionally arriving after long intervals in a new and isolated district, and having to compete with new associates, will be eminently liable to modification, and will often produce groups of modified descendants”

In simpler terms, Charles Darwin implies that endemic species on the remote islands migrated from different parts of the world but adapted over a very long period of time to become new species, leaving their original characteristics behind.

At least once in your life, ensure you check out the same place that inspired Darwin’s groundbreaking evolution theories, the Galapagos Islands. They lie around 605 miles off Ecuador’s coast and you can easily access them by flying from Guayaquil or Quito on the mainland. What’s even more mind-blowing about these islands is that the wildlife has no natural predators, so none of them are afraid of letting humans get up close and personal.

Charles Darwin and His Voyage Aboard H.M.S. Beagle

The Young Naturalist Spent Five Years on a Royal Navy Research Ship

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Pen and ink drawing of the HMS Beagle on the water.

Robert McNamara headshot

Robert J. McNamara is a history expert and former magazine journalist. He was’s first-ever history editor and has bylines in New York, the Chicago Tribune, and other national outlets.

Charles Darwin’s five-year voyage in the early 1830s on H.M.S. Beagle has become legendary, as insights gained by the bright young scientist on his trip to exotic places greatly influenced his masterwork, the book “On the Origin of Species.”

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Darwin didn’t actually formulate his theory of evolution while sailing around the world aboard the Royal Navy ship. But the exotic plants and animals he encountered challenged his thinking and led him to consider scientific evidence in new ways.

After returning to England from his five years at sea, Darwin began writing a multi-volume book on what he had seen. His writings on the Beagle voyage concluded in 1843, a full decade and a half before the publication of “On the Origin of Species.”

The History of H.M.S. Beagle

H.M.S. Beagle is remembered today because of its association with Charles Darwin, but it had sailed on a lengthy scientific mission several years before Darwin came into the picture. The Beagle, a warship carrying ten cannons, sailed in 1826 to explore the coastline of South America. The ship had an unfortunate episode when its captain sank into a depression, perhaps caused by the isolation of the voyage, and committed suicide.

Gentleman Passenger

Lieutenant Robert FitzRoy assumed command of the Beagle, continued the voyage and returned the ship safely to England in 1830. FitzRoy was promoted to Captain and named to command the ship on a second voyage, which was to circumnavigate the globe while conducting explorations along the South American coastline and across the South Pacific.

FitzRoy came up with the idea of bringing along someone with a scientific background who could explore and record observations. Part of FitzRoy’s plan was that an educated civilian, referred to as a “gentleman passenger,” would be good company aboard ship and would help him avoid the loneliness that seemed to have doomed his predecessor.

Darwin Invited to Join the Voyage in 1831

Inquiries were made among professors at British universities, and a former professor of Darwin’s proposed him for the position aboard the Beagle.

After taking his final exams at Cambridge in 1831, Darwin spent a few weeks on a geological expedition to Wales. He had intended to return to Cambridge that fall for theological training, but a letter from a professor, John Steven Henslow, inviting him to join the Beagle, changed everything.

Darwin was excited to join the ship, but his father was against the idea, thinking it foolhardy. Other relatives convinced Darwin’s father otherwise, and during the fall of 1831, the 22-year-old Darwin made preparations to depart England for five years.

Departs England on December 27, 1831

With its eager passenger aboard, the Beagle left England on December 27, 1831. The ship reached the Canary Islands in early January and continued onward to South America, which was reached by the end of February 1832.

South America From February 1832

During the explorations of South America, Darwin was able to spend considerable time on land, sometimes arranging for the ship to drop him off and pick him up at the end of an overland trip. He kept notebooks to record his observations, and during quiet times on board the Beagle, he would transcribe his notes into a journal.

In the summer of 1833, Darwin went inland with gauchos in Argentina. During his treks in South America, Darwin dug for bones and fossils and was also exposed to the horrors of enslavement and other human rights abuses.

The Galapagos Islands, September 1835

After considerable explorations in South America, the Beagle reached the Galapagos Islands in September 1835. Darwin was fascinated by such oddities as volcanic rocks and giant tortoises. He later wrote about approaching tortoises, which would retreat into their shells. The young scientist would then climb on top, and attempt to ride the large reptile when it began moving again. He recalled that it was difficult to keep his balance.

While in the Galapagos Darwin collected samples of mockingbirds, and later observed that the birds were somewhat different on each island. This made him think that the birds had a common ancestor, but had followed varying evolutionary paths once they had become separated.

Circumnavigating the Globe

The Beagle left the Galapagos and arrived at Tahiti in November 1835, and then sailed onward to reach New Zealand in late December. In January 1836 the Beagle arrived in Australia, where Darwin was favorably impressed by the young city of Sydney.

After exploring coral reefs, the Beagle continued on its way, reaching the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa at the end of May 1836. Sailing back into the Atlantic Ocean, the Beagle, in July, reached St. Helena, the remote island where Napoleon Bonaparte had died in exile following his defeat at Waterloo. The Beagle also reached a British outpost on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic, where Darwin received some very welcome letters from his sister in England.

Back Home October 2, 1836

The Beagle then sailed back to the coast of South America before returning to England, arriving at Falmouth on October 2, 1836. The entire voyage had taken nearly five years.

Organizing Specimens and Writing

After landing in England, Darwin took a coach to meet his family, staying at his father’s house for a few weeks. But he was soon active, seeking advice from scientists on how to organize specimens, which included fossils and stuffed birds, he had brought home with him.

In the following few years, he wrote extensively about his experiences. A lavish five-volume set, “The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle,” was published from 1839 to 1843.

And in 1839 Darwin published a classic book under its original title, “Journal of Researches.” The book was later republished as “The Voyage of the Beagle,” and remains in print to this day. The book is a lively and charming account of Darwin’s travels, written with intelligence and occasional flashes of humor.

The Theory of Evolution

Darwin had been exposed to some thinking about evolution before embarking aboard H.M.S. Beagle. So a popular conception that Darwin’s voyage gave him the idea of evolution is not accurate.

Yet is it true that the years of travel and research focused Darwin’s mind and sharpened his powers of observation. It can be argued that his trip on the Beagle gave him invaluable training, and the experience prepared him for the scientific inquiry that led to the publication of “On the Origin of Species” in 1859.

How Did Darwin Get His Big Idea?

Darwin Big Idea Exhibition

If you had an idea that was going to outrage society, would you keep it to yourself?

This question is at the heart of the Natural History Museum’s Darwin Big Idea Exhibition, currently running in London to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth. It’s a superb exhibition, well worth a visit for the sheer interest of the momentous discovery it describes, as well as the human story of Darwin’s quest for understanding.

And for the student of creativity, this exhibition is a treasure trove. When I visited it a few weeks ago, I was hoping that, in amongst the explanations of the actual theory, there might be a few clues as to how Darwin arrived at his big idea. I was wrong. Because of the way the exhibition is arranged, and the incredible array of exhibits, including Darwin’s original specimens, notebooks and even the furniture from his study, it displays his entire creative process in mesmerising detail.

This is the first of three articles in which I’ll share with you what I learned about how Darwin got his big idea. But first, I’ll consider a view of Darwin’s discovery that is popular in the literature on creativity.

The Lateral Thinking Explanation

The facts needed for the formulation of this theory had been available for some time. What eluded investigators was a way of combining these facts into a coherent theory of evolution.
(Janet Davidson and Robert Sternberg, ‘What is insght?’, Educational Horizons, Summer 1986)

Janet Davidson and Robert Sternberg lay out the problem of evolution like a giant jigsaw puzzle, over which scientists of the day pored, struggling to fit the pieces together into a meaningful pattern. Like all jigsaw puzzles, it started out as a bewildering mess – but once fully assembled, it was hard to see how it could have been put together in any other way. At least, that was the response of Thomas Huxley, Darwin’s friend and colleague, on being shown Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection:

How extremely stupid not to have thought of that.

Of course, we know that Huxley was not stupid. He was a highly educated and intelligent man, one of the leading scientists of the day. So how come Darwin managed to ‘think of that’ when Huxley could not?

For Edward de Bono, the answer to this kind of question is the type of thinking we use:

Why do some people always seem to be having new ideas while others of equal intelligence never do?
Since Aristotle, logical thinking has been exalted as the one effective way in which to use the mind. Yet the very elusiveness of new ideas indicates that they do not necessarily come about as a result of logical thought processes. Some people are aware of another sort of thinking which is most easily recognized when it leads to those simple ideas that are obvious only after they have been thought of… For the sake of convenience, the term ‘lateral thinking’ has been coined to describe this other sort of thinking; ‘vertical thinking’ is used to denote the conventional logical process.
(Edward de Bono, New Think )

According to this view, Darwin was essentially a genius, who looked at the same facts as others but because of his prodigious powers of creative thinking, he was able to ‘break the set’ of previous assumptions and combine the data into a new and coherent pattern. The fact that Darwin failed to distinguish himself at university was a distinct advantage, since it meant he was free to ‘think outside the box’ of received knowledge:

To accept the old holes and then ignore them and start again is not as easy as being unaware of them and hence free to start anywhere. Many great discoverers like Faraday had no formal education at all, and others, like Darwin or Clerk Maxwell, had insufficient to curb their originality. It is tempting to suppose that a capable mind that is unaware of the old approach has a good chance of evolving a new one.
(New Think)

So for de Bono, Darwin’s lack of qualifications was one of his chief qualifications as a creative thinker:

Darwin failed to get into medical school at Cambridge, and there are many other instances where a gifted mind has shown a similar lack of interest in routine learning.
(New Think)

De Bono’s disdain for ‘routine learning’ leads him almost to deplore Darwin’s ‘years of hard work’ on his theory:

Unfortunately new ideas are not the prerogative of those who spend a long time seeking and developing them. Charles Darwin spent more than twenty years working on his theory of evolution, and then one day he was asked to read over a paper by a young biologist called Alfred Russell Wallace. Ironically the paper contained a clear exposition of the theory of evolution by survival of the fittest. It seems that Wallace had worked out the theory in one week of delirium in the East Indies. The full development of an idea may well take years of hard work but the idea itself may arrive in a flash of insight.
(New Think)

In de Bono’s universe, the hare wins the race. Darwin was in danger of becoming like one of his beloved Galapagos tortoises – charming but plodding and easily overtaken. The ‘flash of insight’ trumps hard work every time.

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De Bono’s ideas on lateral thinking have been hugely influential on the field of creativity. These quotations from his work are from the 1960s, but similar ideas can be traced in many more recent accounts of Darwin’s creative process.

For example, Frans Johansson describes the episode when Darwin returned to England after travelling the world on the HMS Beagle, and sent a collection of 13 birds to the eminent zoologist John Gould for analysis. Gould was perplexed by the collection – the birds were all finches, yet each was slightly different from the rest. Like most people at the time, Gould assumed that God had created a fixed number of unchanging species when He made the world, so he found it hard to decide whether they were the same species or not.

Before consulting Gould, Darwin was apparently so ignorant that he hadn’t even realised that they were finches. But Gould’s response prompted the realisation that here were 13 finches, from 13 different Galapagos Islands, all very similar but with slight differences. Could it be, Darwin wondered, that they had originally been one species and were now evolving in response to the different environments on their separate islands…?

What is remarkable … is not the insight and success that Darwin ultimately garnered, but that John Gould was unable to achieve it. He had the expertise, he was a leader in his field, and he had all the pieces of information available to him. But Gould associated everything he observed according to the rules of taxonomy, and he therefore attempted to fit what he saw in Darwin’s book collection into those rules. His insight was good and helps increase our understanding about the number of beaches in the world. Darwin’s insight, on the other hand, explained why the field of taxonomy exists in the first place. He had this flash of insight because he was able to break down his associative barriers.
(Frans Johansson, The Medici Effect)

Now I should point out that I’m a big fan of Johansson’s work. I’ve previously enthused about The Medici Effect on Lateral Action, and I’m in complete agreement with its central thesis – that multiple perspectives provide fertile ground for creative insights. But in this instance, I’m not sure I can go along with his interpretation of how Darwin arrived at his insight. Before I offer an alternative, I want to summarise the popular view, described by de Bono and Johansson, and which can be found in many other accounts:

  1. All the information needed to solve the problem of evolution was readily available to the scientists of Darwin’s time.
  2. Darwin’s relative lack of formal education was an advantage because it meant he wasn’t trapped inside the box of assumptions based on past knowledge, and could look at the problem with a fresh eye.
  3. Darwin’s ‘flash of insight’ was the result of special creative thinking processes – whether labelled ‘lateral thinking’ or ‘break[ing] down his associative barriers’.

But from what I saw at the exhibition, I’m not convinced that any of these three statements are true. And I’m absolutely convinced that, in spite of de Bono’s focus on the moment of insight, Darwin’s years of hard work were crucial to his success.

I’m not saying that Darwin didn’t display open-mindedness and intellectual courage in considering ideas that went against popular opinion at the time. But I don’t think he arrived at his big idea by simply letting go of the past and looking at things afresh, nor by using lateral thinking techniques. In fact, I saw a lot of evidence that he actually built on past knowledge and assumptions in order to formulate his theory.

Regular readers of Lateral Action will know that we are sceptical about the idea of ‘thinking outside the box’ and the value of creative thinking on its own. And we’re not very keen on the idea of towering geniuses who have abilities denied to the rest of us mortals. I actually think it would do Darwin a disservice to attribute his discovery purely to flashes of insight and effortless genius. As usual with the creative process, it’s more complex and interesting than that.

But if Darwin’s breakthrough didn’t come through extraordinary creative thinking processes, how did he get his big idea?

Darwin’s Own Explanation

One of the exhibits at the National History Museum is a letter from Darwin to his son, in which he gives a succinct explanation of the ‘art’ of scientific discovery – and one that has nothing to do with unusual thinking processes:

As far as I can conjecture the art consists in habitually searching for the causes and meaning of everything which occurs. This implies sharp observation and requires as much knowledge as possible of the subjects investigated.

I’ve highlighted the words that jump out of this description for me:

‘Habitually searching’

Darwin doesn’t speak of an isolated flash of insight, but of the habit of a lifetime’s enquiry. As we will see in the next article in this series, he didn’t look at things completely afresh, but through the lenses of a set of questions about the nature of life on Earth.

‘Sharp observation’

First-hand observation was key to Darwin’s success. Unlike most scientists of his day, he travelled the globe, observing animals and plants in their natural habitat. This meant that he did not have the same ‘facts’ as everyone else – unless you believe there is no difference between reading about something in a book and experiencing it for yourself.


Darwin’s own explanation flatly contradicts de Bono’s. He saw subject knowledge as an advantage, not a disadvantage, and amassed as much of it as possible. He may not have had the letters after his name, but he had done his homework.

In this brief passage, Darwin gives us a thumbnail sketch of a complex creative process, in which he alternated between questioning and observing, direct experience and studious reflection.

In my next two articles, I’ll show how the evidence of the exhibition bears out Darwin’s account and raises serious doubts about explanations of his discovery based on lateral thinking. I’ll also suggest what we can learn from Darwin’s creativity and apply to our own creative work.

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About the Author: Mark McGuinness is a poet and creative coach.

About Mark McGuinness

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Reader Interactions


A creative process can’t be summed up in a few words like “lateral thinking” or “thinking outside of the box”, these words have almost become just marketing terms. From my own experience, it’s usually a combination of a lot of different things, and sometimes thinking inside the box gives me a flash of insight, while lateral thinking saps my inspiration away. I’m looking forward to the other two articles and I really wish I could go to the exhibit!

Could it be that, by “habitual searching,” Darwin was talking not about what we think of as a habit, as in habitual behavior, but about a (lifelong) series of searching inquiries, each one an instance of lateral thinking?

Jeremy – I’ll do my best to bring the exhibition to life for you.

Jmrowland – I guess it’s conceivable but I’ve not seen any evidence of it. Whereas the exhibition has a lot of evidence pointing towards ‘searching enquiries’ in the form of ‘habitual behaviour’. More on that in the next two articles…

I’m working on a huge project now that is probably going to take me around 2 years to complete. I’m trying to discover something new and there are litterally thousands of ‘jigsaw pieces’ so seeing how to put this all together has been very useful for me.

I look forward to the other parts of the series!

What a fascinating set up for this series — I can’t wait to delve into the exhibition with you.

I think people often forget the immense value of sharp — or first-hand — observation. The world should not be lived though books — and I say that as someone who is a literature geek and die-hard book lover.

Glen — thanks for the feedback and stumble, much appreciated, as always.

Zoe — recovering book geek here as well!

I can’t wait to read the rest of this series. I’m currently reading the latest biography on Einstein and it there are some interesting similarities between the two men. Einstein did not fail math, as legend says, but he did have problems in school because he didn’t like to bow down to authority and he wasn’t willing to conform. He was unable to get teaching assignments and struggled for years with a dissertation.

Is it perhaps a combination of the researching, the habitual seeking and an innate resistance to the status-quo that helped these men make creative leaps? Or is there some other common thread as yet undiscovered?

Melissa – we’re doing our best to discover all relevant common threads and publish them on Lateral Action… watch this space!

I like your take on this Mark, and I appreciate your clear and concise writing style. I’ve always appreciated the notion of lateral thinking (such as Mozart getting his symphony in a flash and then having to right it down) and think the Medici effect sounds interesting, but with Darwin, I think that you are right. My own background is that I have a BSc in geography, and have also TA’d and worked in ecology/evolution, so this is in many ways up my alley although I’ve never taken a really good look at how Darwin may have arrived at his “dangerous” idea.

What I do know, is that typically, when proper light is shed on many scientific geniuses, what we find is that they were good at popularizing ideas that were somewhat theirs, but often begged, stolen or borrowed from elsewhere.

Or they were good at integrating different ideas in a new way.

From my own experience as well, most of the good ideas that I’ve had come from focus and interest plus vast reading of different data and ideas from related fields. (i.e. I think many interesting ideas will be forthcoming from the intersection of cognitive ecolology, ethology and psychology such as the recent work of B. Crespi linking psychological spectrum disorders with evolutionary theory.) The wider your sources, the better you can integrate the ideas in novel ways. This is why much contemporary research focus is on multidisciplinary approaches. Complex issues such as climate change require specialists from many disciplines to get together and put ideas together. In a way, I think Darwin did this, but in his own head, or in consulting and getting pieces of info from various specialists (and maybe smartly not giving them back what he knew so they wouldn’t one-up him), and weaving it together.

My own view on speculation on how Darwin came up with his idea: With Darwin, many of his ideas were biogeographic in nature, connecting the species with it’s environment, and though I haven’t extensively studied his work and the context in which he worked, I suspect that it is the integration of taxonomy with geography that partially led to the incites of his evolutionary theory.

I suspect that what actually gave Darwin his edge was his years of research (knowledge), analytical process, constant devotion to solving this problem and actually going down on the trip to see the landscapes where the specimens came from. There is nothing to replace actually seeing the habitat an animal lives in to be able to start to “get” evolution. There is also a distinct similarity between Darwin’s theories to James Hutton’s theory of uniformitarianism ( Uniformitarianism states that the small regular changes that happen on a short time scale, can add up to the big effects we see on landscapes (i.e. daily water erosion on micro level leads over large time to Grand Canyon). Basically, if you apply this notion to plants/animals, you get rough evolutionary theory.

I learned about Darwin in bio and Hutton in geography, and from what I can remember, Hutton’s work predates Darwin, (Darwin likely had access to Hutton, or his successor Lyell’s work) and so in many ways Hutton was more of a pioneer in ideas challenging to the church and established dogma. He just doesn’t get the publicity Darwin does.

Oh, ok, I just looked it up, and I suspect you may find this interesting. It shows that the connections between Hutton’s theories of uniformitarianism and Darwin’s theory of evolution are far more than just coincidental (which you might already know, but I wasn’t aware of the actual historic linkage).

That’s my two bits!

Thanks Maria, I’m glad my theory of the Theory makes sense to someone who clearly knows much more about the subject than I do!

I suspect that it is the integration of taxonomy with geography that partially led to the incites of his evolutionary theory.

That fits the impression I got from the exhibition — his theory is about the way species adapt to their environment, so seeing them in their actual habitat, and putting that together with what he knew from his studies, could well have made the crucial difference.

And as for Mozart … just wait till I get started on him. 🙂

Mozart?? I cannot wait.

It’s funny that as I am reading through the Einstein bio I keep thinking of your series on Darwin and noting the parallels 😉


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[…] Lateral Action has examined the biogs of creators as disparate as Michelangelo, Kurt Cobain, Charles Darwin and Shakespeare, among others, and found their ostensibly effortless “genius” was […]

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