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Tag: Darwin

Harvard Classics

July 24 – Charles Darwin: Voyage of the Beagle, Chapter 14

Indian Sorcery Blamed for an Earthquake
Darwin visited a South American city ruined by an earthquake. There he heard the superstitious account of the phenomenon. The ignorant people accused Indian women of bewitching the volcano. But Darwin has another explanation.
Read from Darwin‘s VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE Vol. 29, pp. 306-316

Simultaneous eruption of Osorno, Corcovado, Aconcagua (borderline inactive), and Coseguina (dormant 26 years) volcanoes.

1 nautical league = 3.45 miles

Periagua is the term formerly used in the Caribbean and the eastern seaboard of North America for a range of small craft including canoes and small sailing vessels. The term periagua overlaps, but is not synonymous with, pirogue, derived through the French language from piragua.

per·ti·na·cious
/ˌpərtnˈāSHəs/
adjective FORMAL
holding firmly to an opinion or a course of action.
“he worked with a pertinacious resistance to interruptions”

A bad earthquake at once destroys our oldest associations: the earth, the very emblem of solidity, has moved beneath our feet like a thin crust over a fluid;—one second of time has created in the mind a strange idea of insecurity, which hours of reflection would not have produced.

Charles Darwin

Natives observed the relationship between suppressed volcano activity and subsequent earthquakes; however, blamed the suppressed activity on witchcraft.

Harvard Classics

July 1 – Charles Darwin: Origin of Species

1 Darwin Not First Evolutionist
While Darwin was working on his theory of evolution, another scientist independently arrived at the same conclusions. Darwin, then, was not the first to study evolution.
(Darwin publishes outline of “Origin of Species” July 1, 1858.)
Read from Darwin‘s ORIGIN OF SPECIES Vol. 11, pp. 517

AuthorWorks
Buffon
Lamarck (Jean-Baptiste)Philosophie Zoologique
Hist. Nat. des Animaux sans Vertebres
Geoffroy Saint-HilaireLife
Patrick MatthewNaval Timber and Arboriculture
Robert ChambersVestiges of Creation
Richard OwenThe Nature of Limbs
Baden PowellPhilosophy of Creation

Prior belief species were immutable

Lamarck observed difficulty in distinguishing species and varieties // perfect gradation of forms in certain groups. Attributed to direct action of life conditions

Geoffroy – condition of life or “monde ambiant” // belief that species stopped evolving

Professor Grant (1826) Edinburgh Philosophical Journal vol. xiv. p. 283

https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/206960#page/317/mode/1up

Harvard Classics

June 28 – Charles Darwin: Voyage of the Beagle

A very definite etiquette is followed by a stranger on the vast plains of South America. “Ave Maria” is the common salutation. If the stranger is on horseback, he does not alight until invited to do so by his host. Once in the house, the stranger must converse a while before asking shelter for the night.
Read from Darwin‘s VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE Vol. 29, pp. 5160

Chapter III – Maldonado

Date: July 5th, 1832

LocationsWords, Animals, Terms
Rio de JaneiroVerbena melindres
La Plata (Argentina)promethean matches
Monte Video (Uruguay)gauchos (countryman / South American Rancher)
Maldonado (Uruguay)Struthio rhea (South American Ostrich)
River Polanco (Uruguay)recado (Argentinian saddle)
Pan de Azucar (Uruguay)Nothura major (partridges)
Sierra de las Animas (Hill range of Uruguay)Cervus Campestris (type of deer)
Las Minas (Uruguay)Rodentia (rodents)
Hydrochoerus Capybara (water hog)

Points of etiquette while approaching the house of a stranger: ride up slowly to the door, give the salutation of “Ave Maria” (hail Mary), do not dismount your horse until someone comes out and asks you to “alight” (dismount from a horse), and final answer from the homeowner will be “sin pecado concebida” (conceived without sin). Once entered, light conversation is maintained until permission is asked to spend the night. After being granted, a meal and room will be provided.

Bolas (balls – a primitive hunting weapon) consist of three stones, or other weights, connected together via cord to a common center. The Gaucho holds the smallest weight in his hand, whirls the other two around his head and sends them downrange like a revolving chain shot at the target. After the bolas reach their target, they cross and wrap becoming firmly hitched.

Darwin found several “heaps of stones” at the summit of the Sierra de las Animas

The desire to signalize any event, on the highest point of the neighboring land, seems an universal passion of mankind.

Discussions about climate and vegetation. Why was Uruguay so sparsely populated with trees while Tierra del Fuego was “ornamented by magnificent forests?”