Feeds

Darwin's lost fossils found down the back of a cupboard

Always in the last place you'd look - a vault in Surrey

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Fossils collected by a young Charles Darwin have been discovered in a gloomy corner of a British Geological Survey vault.

The treasure trove of fossilised wood, stone and vegetation includes samples that Darwin collected on the HMS Beagle journey during which he came up with his theory of evolution. Lost for 165 years, the cabinet belonged to Darwin's good friend Joseph Hooker and also contained specimens from Darwin's mentor at Cambridge University, the Rev John Henslow.

Dr Howard Falcon-Lang, a palaeontologist at Royal Holloway University, stumbled across the old wooden cabinet shoved in a dark corner of a vault belonging to the Geological Survey in Surrey. He said that he was stunned to pull a slide out and see Charles Darwin's signature on the specimen.

The slides include dense volcanic rock and samples gathered from all over the world - from Dorset to Antigua, India and Australia.

Fossilised tree in Darwin collection, credit British Geological Survey

"To find a treasure trove of lost Darwin specimens from the Beagle voyage is just extraordinary," Falcon-Lang told the Associated Press. "We can see there's more to learn. There are a lot of very, very significant fossils in there that we didn't know existed."

Hooker's failure to use the specimen register properly, and the fact that Darwin was not particularly famous in 1846 when the cabinet was put in storage, allowed the fossils to lie undiscovered for well over a century and a half. It would be 13 years before Darwin published his masterpiece On the Origin of Species in 1859.

Over three million fossils are stored in Geological Survey's collection. A report on the latest finding - Fossil 'treasure trove' found in British Geological Survey vaults - was published in Geology Today. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release
Result? 'Way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.