Fossils, Finches, and Fuegians

Fossils, Finches, and Fuegians : Darwin's Adventures and Discoveries on the Beagle

3.96 (29 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

When Charles Darwin, then age 22, first saw the HMS Beagle, he thought it looked "more like a wreck than a vessel commissioned to go round the world." But travel around the world it did, taking Darwin to South America, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, and of course the Galapagos Islands, in a journey of discovery that lasted almost five years. Now, in Fossils, Finches and Fuegians, Richard Keynes, Darwin's great grandson, offers the first modern full-length account of Darwin's epoch-making expedition. This was the great adventure of Charles Darwin's life. Indeed, it would have been a great adventure for anyone-tracking condor in Chile, surviving the great earthquake of 1835, riding across country on horseback in the company of gauchos, watching whales leaping skyward off Tierra del Fuego, hunting ostriches with a bolo, discovering prehistoric fossils and previously unknown species, and meeting primitive peoples such as the Fuegians. Keynes captures many of the natural wonders that Darwin witnessed, including an incredible swarm of butterflies a mile wide and ten miles long. Keynes also illuminates Darwin's scientific work-his important findings in geology and biology-and traces the slow revolution in Darwin's thought about species and how they might evolve. Numerous illustrations-mostly by artists who traveled with Darwin on the Beagle-grace the pages, including finely rendered drawings of many points of interest discussed in the book. There has probably been no greater or more important scientific expedition than Darwin's voyage on the Beagle. Packed with colorful details of life aboard ship and in the wild, here is a fascinating portrait of Charles Darwin and of 19th century science.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 460 pages
  • 164.6 x 247.9 x 34mm | 816.48g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 20 color illus, 109 b/w halftones, line illus & maps
  • 0195166493
  • 9780195166491
  • 1,692,648

Review quote

An absolutely splendid read that is at once engaging and informative, filled with the minutiae of science history not found anywhere else, as well as the biggest ideas in all of science. Evolutionary theory is one of the half dozen most important ideas in the history of western thought, and Keynes brings to light the fermentation of Darwin's vision of that dangerous idea during his five-year voyage. * Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and the author of The Borderlands of Science and In Darwin's Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace * Altogether, Keynes has succeeded in providing a rich and even sumptuous perspective on one of the great scientific adventures shaping the modern age. This is a story to which everyone can relate * a story that portrays an amiable and industrious young man who increasingly surprises himself (and us all) by his remarkable ability to ask the right questions, and ultimately to relate the disparate facts of a humble observer to a grand and revolutionary vision of the evolution of life on earth. Keynes's fascinating account of Darwin's Wanderjahre, and the momentous consequences of this youthful adventure for the history of science, is a real winner. * There is a real need for an account like this that brings together all aspects of the Beagle voyage in chronological order, and which adds (as this does) information from the archival records that is interesting and relevant, while still letting Darwin's pleasant character and his animated appreciation of what he was seeing emerge. Scrupulously balanced, accurate, and informative, this book reads wonderfully well. * Janet Browne, author of Charles Darwin: Voyaging and Charles Darwin: The Power of Place * A comprehensive and detailed account of Charles Darwin's five- year global voyage of discovery.... Greatly enhanced by helpful maps, recent photographs, relevant illustrations, and arresting color plates. * Library Journal * Handsomely illustrated with sketches and paintings made by Darwin and others associated with the Beagle, this is an excellent introduction to the events that led 20 years later to On the Origin of the Species. * Publishers Weekly * A colorful and lively account of this history-making scientific adventure. * Kirkus Reviews *show more

About Richard Keynes

Richard Darwin Keynes is Former Professor of Physiology at Cambridge University and the editor of Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary.show more

Rating details

29 ratings
3.96 out of 5 stars
5 28% (8)
4 41% (12)
3 31% (9)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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