Egg From Darwin Voyage Comes to Light

Naturalist signed—and cracked—relic from Beagle excursion
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2009 9:46 AM CDT
"The great man put it into too small a box and hence its unhappy state," a 19th-century ornithologist wrote after receiving the egg from Darwin's voyage.   (©celerrimus)
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(Newser) – The only egg known to have survived from Charles Darwin's round-the-world voyage on the Beagle has surfaced in Cambridge University's zoology museum, the BBC reports. A volunteer sorting through the museum's vast egg collection found the egg—from an ostrich-like bird in Uruguay—and realized it bore the naturalist's signature.

A museum director searched the archives and found 19th-century correspondence noting that Darwin's son had given the egg to the museum, and that the naturalist himself had broken it after the voyage by putting it in a too-small box. "To have rediscovered a Beagle specimen in the 200th year of Darwin's birth is special enough, but to have evidence that Darwin himself broke it is a wonderful twist," he said.