Charles Darwin Glenn Pitner GEOG 4950 20100803. Charles Darwin: As an amateur naturalist. Beagle. The Beagle's Voyage. The Voyage of the Beagle.
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“In England any person fond of natural history enjoys in his walks a great advantage, by always having something to attract his attention; but in these fertile climates, teeming with life, the attractions are so numerous, that he is scarcely able to walk at all.”
“As he climbed he had seen with increasing astonishment that the upper reaches of these towering mountains were made up of layer after layer of sedimentary rocks, rocks that had been formed in the sea by the unending downward drift of the skeletons and shells of living water organisms and the sediments of the earth. The upper parts of the Andes were not, as science then thought, the once-molten outpouring of a volcano or of a series of volcanoes.”
“The most curious fact is the perfect gradation in the size of the beaks in the different species of Geospiza, from one as large as that of a hawfinch to that of a chaffinch...Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small, intimately related group of birds, one might fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends. In a like manner it might be fancied that a bird originally a buzzard, had been induced here to undertake the office of the carrion-feeding Polybori of the American continent.”
“A man must for years examine for himself great piles of superimposed strata, and watch the sea at work grinding down old rocks and making fresh sediment, before he can hope to comprehend anything of the lapse of time, the monuments of which we see around us.”