Darwin Day 2012

Today is Darwin Day, or to put it another way, the 203rd anniversary of Darwin’s birth. You can find various posts around the web, as well as various activities to participate in, by searching on “Darwin Day.” My own contribution is below. One of Darwin’s concerns was how islands became populated by flora and fauna and he conducted many experiments on the subject. The brief item below, published in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette no. 21 (26 May): 360, shows Darwin, in 1855, gathering material for one of these:

LIZARD’S EGGS. If any of your readers could obtain for me some eggs of the Lacerta agilis, I should be greatly obliged. Lizards are most widely distributed, and I want to ascertain whether the eggs will float in sea-water, and, if so, whether they will retain their vitality. A reward of a few shillings (which I would gladly repay as well as postage) offered to schoolboys, would perhaps get these eggs in the proper districts collected. Ch. Darwin, Downe, Farnborough, Kent.1

1 Lacerta agilis, the Sand Lizard, formerly found in coastal dunes and heaths, now severely threatened. See Correspondence vol. 5, pp. 337-338.

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