Sunday, January 25, 2009

Darwin in National Geographic

A South American gray fox (Lycalopex griseus) yawns as dusk falls on Chile's Torres del Paine National Park. In Voyage of the Beagle, Darwin chronicled his first encounter with another member of the same genus, Darwin's fox (Lycalopex fulvipes): "I was able, by quietly walking up behind, to knock him on the head with my geological hammer. This fox, more curious or more scientific, but less wise, than the generality of his brethren, is now mounted in the museum of the Zoological Society."

National Geographic has a couple of nice Darwin articles this month (of course). Nice light reading but the photos are amazing and you always learn something interesting eg:

Just two weeks before he died, Charles Darwin wrote a short paper about a tiny clam found clamped to the leg of a water beetle in a pond in the English Midlands. It was his last publication. The man who sent him the beetle was a young shoemaker and amateur naturalist named Walter Drawbridge Crick. The shoemaker eventually married and had a son named Harry, who himself had a son named Francis. In 1953, Francis Crick, together with a young American named James Watson, would make a discovery that has led inexorably to the triumphant vindication of almost everything Darwin deduced about evolution.

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