Darwin was just 22 when, in December 1831, he embarked on his famous five-year voyage on board H.M.S. Beagle. The ship reached South America at the end of February 1832. While the Beagle charted the coastline, Darwin dug for bones and fossils on land. He kept detailed notes of his observations and speculations. These covered not only the flora and fauna, but also the more unsavoury side of human life, such as slavery. He would describe what he saw in letters, which he would periodically send back to his family. But it was, of course, his studies of Nature that occupied most of his attention, and along with the letters he would also send specimens he had collected, back to Cambridge.
In September 1835, the Beagle reached the Galapagos Islands. There, Darwin was fascinated by the oddities he saw, such as volcanic rock and giant tortoises. But more than anything else, he was intrigued by the mocking-birds. Darwin observed that the birds were in some ways different, depending on which island they inhabited. This led him to think that they might have followed various evolutionary paths, having developed originally from a common ancestor.
In January 1836 the Beagle arrived in Australia. There, Darwin found a great deal that fascinated him. There was the youthful city of Sydney; there were the kangaroos and platypuses, which he found so extraordinary that, so he commented, it was almost as if two Creators had been at work; and there were the aborigines, whom he found "good-humoured and pleasant".
Darwin didn’t actually formulate his theory of evolution during his great voyage. But the exotic plants and animals he encountered challenged his thinking and led him to consider scientific evidence in new ways. His five-year voyage on H.M.S. Beagle has become the stuff of legend; the insights gained by this bright young scientist while travelling through such exotic places ultimately inspired his classic work, On the Origin of Species.
- Charles Darwin, Nature's Son Part 7- Debate of the century
- Charles Darwin, Nature's Son Part 6-A remarkable theory
- Charles Darwin, Nature's Son Part 5-The down house
- Charles Darwin, Nature's Son Part 4- The mystery of species
- Charles Darwin, Nature's Son Part 2: Goodbye to youth
- Charles Darwin: Nature´ s Son Part 1- A free spirit