M3 Voyage of the Beagle: Phase 3
“Amidst the vicissitudes of the earth’s surface, species cannot be immortal, but must perish, one after another, like the individuals which compose them.” — Charles Lyell
Continue the journey on the Beagle:
- August 24th 1832: Bahia Blanca, Brazil
- December 17th, 1832: Tierra Del Fuego
- March 1st, 1833: Falkland Islands
- April 29th, 1834: Rio Santa Cruz Valley
- July 23rd, 1834: Bay of Valparaiso, Chile
- November 21st, 1834: Harbor of Talchuhano
- March 4th, 1835: Concepcion, Chile
Links for your journey:
- Look at all the hot spots in Module 3: How might they later be used to support Darwin’s idea of slow, gradual change? Darwin started the voyage of the Beagle as a creationist, very much enamored with William Paley’s arguments in Natural Theology. Why did he ultimately reject the argument from design? What kinds of evidence did he cite to support his idea that species changed through time rather than being specially created? Include in your discussion what Darwin is observing on his voyage.
Darwin does not address the question of human evolution directly in The Origin, only writing, “Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.” How do you think his observations of the Fuegians play into his thinking about human evolution and also the debates over slavery?
- What did these bones Darwin found at Punta Alta imply? Why were there no animals like this alive and if the animals went extinct, how long ago did this happen? Darwin speculated that the vegetation must have been very lush to support creatures of this size. However, the vegetation in this region now was very sparse. In the discussion, come up with a test that would be available to Darwin to support his conjecture. What other creatures that Darwin would be aware of lived in environments that would discredit Darwin’s first hypothesis?
- Speculate what caused the creature’s extinction. Must it have been environment change? How long ago did this creature die? If these bones were thousands of years old, did they support Lyell’s theory? How could Darwin tell or speculate, given his knowledge at the time?