Comparing the surviving fossil mammal specimens collected by Charles Darwin during the Voyage of the Beagle with original drawings and casts of the specimens from 1837-1840, it is clear that some have sustained significant damage in the 185 years since they were collected.
Guest blog by Adrian Lister
When I first joined the Museum as a fossil mammal researcher in 2007, I received a set of keys that gave me access to much of the museum’s huge collection. Browsing one day, I opened an unremarkable cupboard and was startled to find six shelves of fossil bones with a sign reading ‘Charles Darwin, Beagle Voyage’. Continue reading “Darwin’s fossil mammals: discoveries that sparked the theory of evolution | Digital Collections Programme”
In 2014, Professor Adrian Lister began research for his book on the fossils collected by Charles Darwin on the Voyage of the Beagle. As part of his research, Professor Lister began to document the complex histories of these specimens from their point of collection to the present day. It soon became clear that the mammalian specimens had not been adequately documented or revised in the 185 years since their initial publication. This has meant that they have not been included in most modern scientific studies. This is despite the fact that the majority of the specimens in this collection are ‘type’ specimens (the reference specimens for that species), essential for scientific study of these species.