Collecting evolution: The Galapagos expedition that vindicated Darwin

Matthew James

California Academy of Sciences Fellow and

Professor of Geology and Paleontology at Sonoma State University

Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Pacific Forum—11:00 a.m.

In 1905, eight sailor-scientists from the California Academy of Sciences set out on an 89-foot schooner from San Francisco for a scientific collection expedition in the Galapagos Islands. By the time they finished in 1906, they had completed one of the most important expeditions in the history of both evolutionary and conservation science. They brought back over 78,000 specimens, validating the ideas of Charles Darwin and laid the groundwork for foundational evolution texts like Darwin’s Finches. Despite its significance, no longer treatment has appeared on this voyage, lost amongst discussion of Darwin’s trip on HMS Beagle. In my new book Collecting Evolution, I tell the story of the 1905-06 Galapagos expedition in terms of why they went, what they did, and what it means today. I follow these eight young men aboard the schooner Academy to the Galapagos and back, and reveal their personal stories and groundbreaking success in historical context.

Print Version (PDF)

Next: July 12, Lauren Lipuma

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