Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Fate of Darwin’s “Mischievous” Caracaras


It’s perhaps the most central environmental question facing us: will we be able to adapt to an accelerated pace of climate change?  In the case of birds, the answer would seem to be a resounding “no.”  That, at least, is the impression I get while speaking with experts aboard the […]

Darwin and the Curious Case of Gaucho Rivero


From 1832-1835, a young Charles Darwin made his way through South America aboard HMS Beagle, during which time he made key observations pertaining to wildlife.  Though Darwin’s exploits on the Galápagos are widely discussed, his travels in the South Atlantic, and specifically the Falkland Islands (known in Argentina as the […]

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.

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