Charles_Darwin_seatedLater tonight at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Nature Regina is hosting an illustrated talk by Ed Rodger and Laurie Koepke on the small group of islands off the coast of Peru that British naturalist Charles Darwin (pictured) visited during a survey expedition by the HMS Beagle. The voyage began shortly after Christmas in 1831, and concluded in October 1836.

Darwin was 22 at the time, and during his nearly five years at sea as a self-funded guest, he conducted wide-ranging surveys of geology and zoology in numerous locations in South America, Australia, Africa and many islands in between. In addition to observing living wildlife, Darwin also discovered fossils of prehistoric creatures.

The Beagle’s visit to the Galapagos Islands occurred in September 1835. While travelling from island to island, Darwin noted slight physiological differences between species of finches, giant tortoises, iguanas and other fauna and flora that he ultimately theorized were due to their having evolved on isolated island habitats over thousands of years.

That insight formed the crux of the theory of natural selection which he went on to develop and ultimately publish in 1859 in a 502 page book titled On the Origin of Species. The Nature Regina talk by Rodger and Koepke goes at the RSM tonight at 7:30 p.m.