What Darwin really liked to do was tramp over the hills, observing plants and animals, collecting new specimens, scrutinizing their structures, and categorizing his findings, guided by his cousin William Darwin Fox, an entomologist. Darwin's scientific inclinations were encouraged by his botany professor, John Stevens Henslow, who was instrumental, despite heavy paternal opposition, in securing a place for Darwin as a naturalist on the surveying expedition of HMS Beagle to Patagonia.
Under Captain Robert Fitzroy, Darwin visited Tenerife, the Cape Verde Island, Brazil, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Chile, the Galapagos Islands, Tahiti, New Zealand, and Tasmania. In the Cape Verde Island Darwin devised his theory of coral reefs.
Another significant stop on the trip was in the Galapagos Islands, it was here that Darwin found huge populations of tortoises and he found that different islands were home to significantly different types of tortoises. Darwin then found that on islands without tortoises, prickly pear cactus plants grew with their pads and fruits spread out over the ground. On islands that had hundreds of tortoises, the prickly pears grew substantially thick, tall trunks, bearing the pads and fruits high above the reach of the tough mouthed tortoises. During this five-year... [continues]
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