Danish museum finds lost Charles Darwin treasure

A gift from the scientist from 1854 has been uncovered

August 21st, 2014 10:40 am| by admin
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

The Natural History Museum of Denmark has found a unique gift from one of the world’s most legendary scientists in history, the father of the theory of evolution, Charles Darwin.

After studying some correspondence between Darwin and a Danish colleague – the then head of the since-closed Royal Natural History Museum, Japetus Steenstrup – the museum realised that Darwin had gifted the Dane 77 different species of acorn barnacles back in 1854.

“The relationship between Steenstrup and Darwin is well known,” Hanne Strager, the head of exhibitions at the museum, said in a press release.

“We had a little dream that we could find an item that Darwin had borrowed from Steenstrup – one we could positively say that Darwin had studied. But we ended up finding something much better.”

READ MORE: Museum selling Viking ships to the public

Upcoming exhibition
Darwin didn’t just return the acorn barnacles he borrowed, but also sent a box with an additional 77 barnacles to the Dane as appreciation for his help – something that Strager uncovered by coincidence when she was taking a look at the correspondence between the two scientists.

In a letter, Darwin mentioned the list of 77 barnacles – a list that was then found in Steenstrup’s papers in the museum archives – and now most of the barnacles have been found.

Next month, the museum will open the largest exhibition in its history, featuring Denmark’s new dinosaur ‘Misty’, and Darwin’s gift will be included.

“To be able to display a gift from one of the world’s greatest scientists is unique for a museum,” Stager said.

“Here we have a personal connection to the man responsible for what is probably biology’s greatest ever scientific breakthrough: the Theory of Evolution.”

Unfortunately, only 55 of the 77 species have been found. Most of the samples of one genus in particular are missing as a result, it is believed, of being lent out over the past 160 years.

Customers can buy their own VR glasses (photo: iStock)
Virtual reality store opens in Copenhagen
Denmark's first virtual reality store opened last Friday in Vesterbro's mea...
D-A-D, a popular Danish rock band, will perform at the charity concert (photo: dr_zoidberg)
Popular Danish acts to play benefit concert for refugees
D-A-D, Turboweekend, Aura, Wafande, Pharfar and Vild Smith are just some of...
Lego is no longer the king of the branding castle (photo: Joergsam)
Lego toppled as most powerful brand in the world
The Danish toy producer Lego has been knocked off its perch by Disney as th...
Danish beef heading back to Japanese shelves (photo: iStock)
Japan opening its doors to Danish beef again
For the first time in 15 years, Danish food exporters will be able to sell ...
It is just the second time in its five-year history that the C20 has fallen by more than 4 percent (photo: iStock)
C20 Cap-Index in historic tumble
The Danish C20 Cap-Index yesterday recorded its largest ever one-day drop, ...
Number of drink driving young Danes has halved in just five years (photo: iStock)
Far fewer drink-driving accidents involving young Danes
The number of young Danes under the age of 25 who are injured or convicted ...