Most readers of this publication are likely to be at least somewhat familiar with the famous 1831-1836 journey of Charles Darwin aboard the H.M. S. Beagle (and for those who aren’t, I highly recommend his own account of it, published as The Voyage of the Beagle). However much less attention seems to be given to what happened at the locations of his researches afterward.
Of course, Darwin went on to publish a number of books, including his famous On the Origin of Species, but did anyone within living memory of him make a return trip to his noted locations, particularly his most noteworthy of collecting sites, the Galapagos Islands, in an attempt to replicate his discoveries?
As it so happens, someone did. In 1905, a team of eight men from the California Academy of Sciences set out from San Francisco, bound for a collecting trip in the Galapagos. What motivated them, what they found, and what came about following their return are the subjects of Matthew James’ new book Collecting Evolution; The Galapagos Expedition that Vindicated Darwin from Oxford University Press.
Appearing to be equal parts history of natural history and rollicking adventure, Collecting Evolution is (following upon my own recent re-reading of Origin) a book I’m very much looking forward to reading.