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Adventure! Darwin and Climate Change in the South Atlantic


At the risk of asking a somewhat grandiose question, will we be able to adapt to climate change, or alternatively face extinction?  If he were alive today, it’s a question which might have vexed Charles Darwin — though the naturalist would not have denied environmental change, the colossal pace of […]

Darwin and the Warrah


While in the Falklands, Darwin encountered Dusicyon Australis, a native wolf called the Warrah.  How did the animal wind up on the islands?  Darwin was mystified, since he found no evidence the creature existed anywhere else.  The naturalist observed that the Warrah was remarkably tame, and he described a gaucho […]

Montevideo: Indigenous Peoples and Mutinous Black Troops


Darwin and the crew of HMS Beagle traveled to Montevideo in 1832, the era of Britain’s so-called “informal empire” in South America.  At the time, Montevideo was a crucial slave port, but as whites struggled for independence slaves sought retribution.  Attracted by offers of manumission, some slaves became soldiers, while […]

Indigenous Cultures and Food


In Chiloé, I visited the Dalcahue Museum. Chiloé is known for its wide variety of potatoes, which Darwin disparaged.  The island is home to hundreds of varieties of potato, and DNA studies have demonstrated that Chiloé is the original global home of the potato.

Fossils and Minerals in Santiago


Ammonite display at National Museum of Natural History.  For more on Darwin’s ammonites, see my other post here. I also visited the Geological Museum where I spoke with experts.  

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