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An Emerging Mind

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©AMNH / Denis Finnin


Darwin began the Beagle voyage green and inexperienced, but he finished a seasoned naturalist. And while he never lost his wonder and patience for close observation, on the Beagle he grew from a wide-eyed observer into a profound analytical thinker who increasingly found patterns in what he saw.

This exhibition traces not a chronological journey but instead an internal one. It presents the development of the way Darwin saw the world--from delighted, detailed observations of individual species, to pondering the connections among them.

Here you will see clues that Darwin saw on the Beagle voyage, ultimately leading him to three insights about how living species are connected: to extinct species, to similar species living nearby, and to others isolated on islands. In the years to come, all these initially puzzling relationships would eventually lead Darwin to a single conclusion--that all species are, in fact, related.

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