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Datebook: December 27 – Darwin Embarks on HMS Beagle 180 Years Ago

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The HMS Beagle was a Cherokee-class 10-gun brig-sloop of the Royal Navy. She was the first ship to sail under the London Bridge and was best known for carrying young naturalist Charles Darwin on his momentous scientific voyage. Beginning on 27 December 1831, the voyage lasted almost five years and Darwin spent most of that time on land investigating geology and making natural history collections, while the Beagle surveyed and charted coasts. He had some expertise in geology, beetle collecting and dissecting marine invertebrates, but in all other areas was a novice and ably collected specimens for expert appraisal. The inception of his theory occurred during the fossil collecting, for example he and his colleagues noticing fossils showing that extinct species were related to current species in the same locality and that bird specimens from the Galapagos Islands were of distinct species related to places, not just varieties – thus convincing Darwin that transmutation of species must be occurring. He began notebooks speculating on variation of offspring “to adapt and alter the race to changing world.”

It’s Tuesday, December 27

Saturday, Kenlake State Resort Park in Aurora offers a Motown New Year’s Eve with dancing from 9 to 1 a.m. The Park offers packages with dinner, dance, lodging, and continental breakfast. Call 800-325-0143.

Paducah’s Yeiser Art Center near the Riverfront hosts the Wastelander’s New Year’s Eve Celebration Saturday with an open to all reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Artists showing include E.J. Abell, Paula Danby, Nancy Flowers, Kristi Hanson, Charlie Robertson, David Brown, Mark Donham, Juanita Gilliam, LaNelle Mason, Jane Viterisi, Linda Little and Nathan Brown. Enjoy the show, refreshments and live music by Tracy Badger.

Lake Barkley State Resort Park near Cadiz offers a First Day Hike at 10 a.m. on Sunday. The park naturalist leads a 2-mile hike full of scenic views and possible sightings of bald eagles, wild turkey, deer and other winter wildlife. Meet at the Park’s Fitness Center which is offering free admission for the day to its indoor pool, nautilus equipment and free weights.

See the Front Blog at for the text of this Datebook. Thanks!


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