To celebrate International Darwin Day – the anniversary of naturalist and biologist Charles Darwin’s birthday – we share five facts about the influential scientist.
He was a foodie: Darwin belonged to Cambridge University’s Glutton Club, which focused on sourcing and eating “strange flesh”. His fellow sailors on the Beagle also reported he enjoyed eating many of the exotic animals he collected on his travels, including pumas, iguanas and armadillos.
Darwin married his cousin: Darwin chose his first cousin Emma Wedgwood as his wife. The couple parented ten children together, only seven of whom survived. Darwin believed this could be due to inbreeding.
The highest mountain in Tierra del Fuego is named after Darwin: Captain FitzRoy named the mountain with the highest peak in Tierra del Fuego after Darwin on his 25th birthday in 1834. Darwin had previously rescued several of the mission’s ships in the area when large waves threatened to wash them away.
The theory of natural selection was postponed by two decades: Darwin began working on his famous theory in the late 1830s, but did not reveal the theory until twenty years later. Because of the criticism his grandfather’s work on evolution faced previously, Darwin wanted sufficient evidence to support his ideas.
Darwin shares a birthday with Abraham Lincoln: Both Darwin and Lincoln were born on February 12, 1809. While Darwin was born in a grand estate in Shrewsbury, England, the United State’s 16th president was born in a Kentucky log cabin.