For my fiftieth birthday, a dear friend arranged for us to go on a behind-the-scenes tour at the Natural History Museum in London, to examine fossil specimens collected by Charles Darwin during the Beagle voyage.
This beautiful, copiously illustrated book took me back to that wonderful day. It describes the many different types of fossils Darwin collected and studied during his lifetime.
As you would expect, the Beagle voyage features prominently. Adrian Lister, a Research Leader at the Natural History Museum, describes where the fossils were collected, what they tell us about the local geology, and how they contributed to Darwin’s work.
Every double-page spread contains at least one wonderful illustration, many of which were specially commissioned for the book. I was delighted to spot among them the so-called ‘Royal brachipods’, extremely ancient fossils collected by Darwin on the Falkland Islands in 1833, which were subsequently shown to Queen Victoria (and, many years later, to my friend and me).
This is an absolutely gorgeous book.
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.