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Friday, February 05, 2010

Austria honours Darwin

During the last year, Natural History Museums all over the world have celebrated the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's publication On the Origin of Species. I visited the London Exhibition in the Natural History Museum, and also took time out from my surveys in Burgenland to visit the National Natural History Museum of Austria in Vienna.

It was interesting to compare the two approaches, both of them excellent in their way. London focussed more on his work, his specimens and theory of evolution. In Vienna, more emphasis was given to "Darwin the Man", depicting his life and times, full of anecdotes.

Looking down the Grand Staircase of the Vienna National Natural History Museum to the entrance foyer. But who is sitting there on the pedestal?

Oh, it's Charles Darwin, astride a giant tortoise of the Galapagos Islands,
reconstructed from a picture of the event!

A model of the ship Beagle that was to transport Darwin on his five year voyage
around South America to the Galapagos Islands

He hated the sea!

A reconstruction of Darwin in his cabin aboard the Beagle,
among his instruments and beloved specimens

A page from Darwin's own manuscript

A pair of the eponymous "Darwin's Finches"

The genius that is Darwin


Blogger Charles Gramlich said...

I sure would love to see that display.

6:32 pm  
Blogger simon said...

YEs and the Sydney zoo had one of his turtles (alive) until recently!

9:34 pm  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

If I had more time I'd love to read the best biography on his life. I do look forward to seeing the movie on him coming out soon. Interesting exhibit, Jim.

5:12 am  
Blogger Halfmom said...

Looks like you really enjoyed yourself!

6:25 am  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

What a great write up. I would certainly like to have seen the exhibition in Vienna.

8:43 pm  
Blogger donsands said...

Interesting museum.

I'm not a Darwin fan. I like to hear others refute his studies. But it doesn't seem like the USA government wants to allow for open debate in our schools. And that's sad.

Here's a quote that I thought might be interesting to you:

"A Chinese paleontologist lectures around the world saying that recent fossil finds in his country are inconsistent with the Darwinian theory of evolution. His reason: The major animal groups appear abruptly in the rocks over a relatively short time, rather than evolving gradually from a common ancestor as Darwin's theory predicts. When this conclusion upsets American scientists, he wryly comments: "In China we can criticize Darwin but not the government. In America you can criticize the government but not Darwin."-Phillip E. Johnson is Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley

3:56 am  
Blogger Maalie said...

Donsands, Pillip E. Johnson is a born again Christian and a Professor of Law. I suggest you consult a proper biologist!

To say you are not a fan of Darwin is like saying you are not a fan of Einstein, Newton, Archimedes and so on.

Please take up yourt concerns w3ith the director of any national Natural History museum whi may be able to guide your study of the subject.

8:25 pm  
Blogger donsands said...

"I suggest you consult a proper biologist!"

I'll have to do that for sure.

3:44 pm  

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