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Darwin's 'lost' fossils found in a gloomy corner of the of British Geological Survey
January 17, 2012 10:24 AM   Subscribe

British scientists have discovered a “treasure trove” of Charles Darwin fossils that have been lost for more than 150-years. | 'I spotted some drawers marked "unregistered fossil plants",' he recalls. 'I can't resist a mystery, so I pulled one open. What I found inside made my jaw drop!' Inside were hundreds of fossil plants, polished into thin translucent sheets known as 'thin sections' and captured in glass slides so they could be studied under a microscope. | The British Geologic Survey has images 33 of the "Lost Fossils" online.

Falcon-Lang's find was a collection of 314 slides of specimens collected by Darwin and other members of his inner circle, including John Hooker — a botanist and dear friend of Darwin — and the Rev. John Henslow,Darwin's mentor at Cambridge, whose daughter later married Hooker.
posted by nickyskye (15 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Darwin had fossils stashed in his drawers all along? Hooker was probably the one that stuck them there?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:31 AM on January 17, 2012


This is awesome.
posted by pemberkins at 10:33 AM on January 17, 2012


What's the opposite of "."?
posted by The Michael The at 10:40 AM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


!
posted by FatherDagon at 10:47 AM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Right. Like Darwin really existed. God put the fossils in those drawers to test our faith.
posted by brundlefly at 10:49 AM on January 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


Nicky Skye makes a brilliant post, as usual.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:57 AM on January 17, 2012


nickyskye, that is.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:57 AM on January 17, 2012


Darwin couldn't possibly be fossilized already.
posted by goethean at 10:59 AM on January 17, 2012


Good lord, the possibilities of historical conversation as bad off-color joke are endless with this story e.g.:

What did the [Prof.] Hooker say to the minister's daughter?

"Why don't you come back to the lab and let me show you what I've got fosilized in my drawers?" or perhaps, "I've got something in my drawers that drives creationists ape!"
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:48 AM on January 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Didn't Darwin bring back an absolutely crapload of stuff though, of which this would seem to be a relatively small proportion? Or am I getting that wrong? Or is it just that this stuff was lost and now is found? I don't quite get this.
posted by StephenF at 12:10 PM on January 17, 2012


I think it's merely that it belonged to someone who made such important contributions. It's like finding a jacket of Elvis's that had been hidden somewhere since before he died..

it's not the skeleton of the complete "the missing link", but it still is pretty rad.
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:19 PM on January 17, 2012


Huh, I thought those fossils were put down in the ground by God. Wonder why He let us lose 'em again...
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:52 PM on January 17, 2012


A got a weird vibe off of this, having just finished China Mieville's "Kraken".
posted by hwestiii at 2:29 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Darwin really fossilizes fast.
posted by clvrmnky at 3:41 PM on January 17, 2012


I thought those fossils were put down in the ground by God

I bet they were hidden because they'd test people's faith too much. Since exact calculations proved the world began on Oct. 23, 4004BC and all.

Now that they're uncovered, no doubt Cadillacs will start to assemble themselves in junkyards everywhere. And the ground will mysteriously fill with oil to power them.
posted by Twang at 8:26 PM on January 17, 2012


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