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Darwin notebooks make a return to the UK library two decades after they disappeared

LONDON, April 5 – More than 20 years after they were reported missing, two notebooks belonging to British naturalist Charles Darwin, including one with a sketch of his famous Tree of Life, have been returned to the University of Cambridge library.

The notebooks were found on March 9 in good condition in a gift bag left on the library floor. The bag also contained a printed message that read, “Librarian Happy Easter X,” the library said Tuesday.

“They may be tiny, only the size of postcards, but the notebooks’ impact on the history of science and their importance to our world-class collections here cannot be overstated,” said Jessica Gardner, librarian at Cambridge University Library.

Darwin sketched his ideas about an evolutionary tree in 1837 after a world tour, more than two decades before he published a fully developed tree of life in his book On the Origin of Species, the library said.

A notebook written by Charles Darwin is pictured after it was returned to Cambridge University Library, UK, on ​​March 14, 2022.
A notebook written by Charles Darwin is pictured after it was returned to Cambridge University Library, UK, on ​​March 14, 2022.
Reuters

The notebooks are known as the Transmutation Notebooks because they were the first for Darwin to theorize about how species could “transmute” ancestral forms into later forms, they said.

The notebooks were removed from a vault for photography in late 2000 and reported missing in January 2001. But it wasn’t until 2020 that the library concluded they were more likely stolen than misplaced.

British naturalist Charles Darwin's sketch of the tree of life is depicted in one of his notebooks.
British naturalist Charles Darwin’s sketch of the tree of life is depicted in one of his notebooks.
Reuters

The police investigation into the disappearance of the notebooks is ongoing.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/05/darwin-notebooks-return-to-uk-library-two-decades-after-vanishing/ Darwin notebooks make a return to the UK library two decades after they disappeared

DUSTIN JONES

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