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H.M.S and Observations



     Darwin in the very beginning got seasick and regretted for a time that he came. The voyage was delayed because of a break out of cholera in Santa Cruz at Tenerife Island. They had to wait for 12 days to get on land. The captain Robert FitzRoy wanted to go ahead and go to the Cape Verde Islands so they wouldn't lose anytime. Darwin first made his observations at Santiago. Where he found a cuttle-fish that amazed him when it changed colors. They stopped quickly at Fernando de Noronha it was a very volcanic region. They then sailed forth to Salvador then Bahia, Brazil. At Salvador Darwin loved its beautiful landscapes but later got in fight with FitzRoy about slavery. Then in All Saints Bay he observed a small tube-like animal that made the ocean look brown. In Rio de Janeiro he stayed there while the ship made other stops. He explored a tropical rainforest while there. He then collected many specimens. His collection consisted of many insects and plants. They then headed to Buenos Aires after again he boarded the ship but again soon fell sick. In Fort Argentina they were suspected to be spies because of Darwin's weird looking instruments. Darwin later got off the H.M.S. again to collect and found some fossils. It was very exciting to him because many of the animals he saw were not known to the science community at that time. In Montevideo he kind of had a time to relax he received mail from family and sent specimens to his mentor Rev.  Henslow. It included part of a skull of the Cavia, several marine shells, an odd looking bird, some snakes and lizards, a toad, many crabs, dried plants, fish, some seeds, and a lot of beetles. In Tierra del Fuego they were stunned by the natives’ behavior and how they mocked them. Darwin tried to climb Banks Hill but it had too much vegetation and he gave up. Much later they arrived in the Falkland Islands. Darwin was surprised on how different the fossils were here than on the coast of South America. Later in the journey they went to Maldonado at first he was highly disappointed because he found the scenery depressing later he hired a crew to go further inland. He was then happily surprised when he found and saw many exotic animals and saw many ostriches. During his stay he had another culture shock and liked the people here. Later they returned back to Montevideo and he collected even more specimens and considered himself very lucky for it. Much later they went to Rio Santa Cruz and made a theory that the Andes Mountains slowly changed over time and rose above sea level. Then they went around the South American Cape and started into the Pacific Ocean. Darwin then went to the Galapagos Islands. This was his most famous place that he visited on H.M.S. Beagle. The crew and Captain went there like most ships did to collect tortoise meat for the way home. Darwin got off and was very amazed at all the animals he found there. There he noticed like others how different the animals were here. Also that animals from one area to another varied like finches or turtles. They all seemed exactly right for the habitat they lived in. Darwin later used all of his information and fossils from the H.M.S. Beagle to draw his conclusion to evolution.

Darwin's Observations

Most of these observations were taken from the Galapagos Islands.


  • Like mentioned above Darwin observed in the South American region that geology has a lot of influence on life today. He saw that many of the regions he visited had layers of shells. So, that mountains had slowly come above sea level.
  • On the Galapagos he also wondered how the animals got to the islands. He then inferred that some of the marine animals like sea lions and tortoises swam to the island, birds flew there, seeds were carried there by the wind, and so one. He then summarized that some of the species migrated to other islands and slowly changed to suit the environment.
  • Another very interesting observation he saw was that two animals that were very alike one "extinct" the other living were found in the same geographic area.
  • He also found that animals that were very close to being the same differed from one place to another. That island animals were closely related to the animals on the nearest mainland.
  • He was very fascinated with finches on the Galapagos and noticed that the birds had beaks that best helped them with their daily lives.
  • He also found in fossils that extinct animals are related to the modern animals. They show a change over time.
  • Darwin also saw that the animal who survived through life was able to reproduce. That animal then passed on his genetics to the next generation. So that populations are made of the most successful animals.

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