Darwin's Secret Notebooks

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History Documentary hosted by Josh Charles and published by National Geographic in 2008 - English narration

also known as

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Along the wild edges of the Earth, against a stunning backdrop of aerial, underwater, and wildlife photography, evolutionary biologist Armand Leroi leads us on an unforgettable journey retracing the adventure - and uncovering the evidence - that inspired Darwin's revolutionary work, On The Origin of Species.

On Feb. 12, the world celebrated the 200th birthday of the "father of evolution," and to commemorate the occasion, Leroi and the National Geographic Channel retraced Darwin's famed voyage on the HMS Beagle.

They discovered that the story often repeated around the dinner table isn't entirely true.

Using Darwin's own diary and field notes, Armand goes beyond the Galapagos to explore forgotten shores. Travelling from South America to the South Pacific, and beyond he replicates the journey that inspired Darwin's seminal work to witness the very creatures, fossils, and places that captivated the young naturalist's imagination - and changed the world forever.

About Darwin's Secret Notebook

As Darwin traveled beyond the Galapagos Islands to South America with Captain FitzRoy, he came to discover several fossils and unknown buried treasures. Throughout his journey he wrote what he saw and encountered in his seceret diary.

  • In the early 1800s, the British Empire was eager to locate new resources to fuel their industrial revolution, and had an interest in the mineral wealth of South America. New trade relations required creating accurate charts and maps of the region.
  • Charles Darwin's future ship, the H.M.S. Beagle, was commissioned for this map-making purpose. The captain, Robert FitzRoy, assumed command after the former captain commited suicide at sea.
  • During the summer of 1831 Captain FitzRoy foresaw that the next Beagle voyage would present an ideal opportunity for collecting specimens of natural history. Captain FitzRoy sought the advice of John Stevens Henslow, Professor of Botany at Cambridge. Henslow recommended a young and promising student, a naturalist named Charles Darwin.
  • On the morning of December 27, 1831; the H.M.S. Beagle, sailed out of Plymouth harbor under a calm easterly wind and drizzling rain. Darwin became seasick almost immediately and started to have second thoughts about the voyage.
  • Upon arriving in Brazil, Darwin was disgusted at the sight of black slaves, and got into a quarrel with Captain FitzRoy about the ethics of treating humans as property. FitzRoy flew into a temper and forbid Darwin to share his dinner table with him. After a short cooling off period, Captain FitzRoy apologized to Darwin restored his dining privileges.
  • Always eager to get off the ship, Darwin spent many weeks collecting fossils in Patagonia, and found huge fossil bones in a cliff at Punta Alta. Darwin knew little about paleontology, but figured any fossils he collected may be of interest to the experts back in England.
  • Captain FitzRoy had difficulty understanding why Darwin was bringing all sorts of "useless junk" on the ship. The fossils he collected at Punta Alta turned out to be giant rodent-like animals, armadillo shells, ground sloths and giant teeth, most of which were entirely unknown to science at the time.
  • In Chile, Darwin was curious about the geology of the river valleys he traversed. The walls had layers of sea shells embedded in them. Darwin theorized that the cliffs of the river valley and the Andes Mountains themselves had been slowly rising above sea level. The evidence for a planet in a state of constant flux was becoming stronger and stronger.
  • On March 4th the Beagle entered the Harbor of Talcuhano near Concepcion. Darwin found fresh marine rocks that had risen a few feet above sea level due to a recent earthquake. Darwin became excited because it was direct evidence that the Andes mountains and all of South America may be very slowly rising above the ocean.
  • Darwin's observations provided much evidence to geologist Charles Lyell's theory that land masses rose up in tiny increments over extremely long periods of time. Given this fact, Darwin accepted the idea that the Earth must be extremely old.
  • In Argentina, the crew went onshore to visit a military stronghold just south of Bahia Blanca. The Major in charge of the fort eyed them with suspicion, especially Darwin with his odd-looking instruments. He thought they were spies sent to reconnoiter the fort, and ordered his soldiers to watch them.
  • In Tierra del Fuego, a small group of Fuegians met the landing party. After a futile attempt at verbal communication, the crew gave the Fuegians some bright red cloth and they immediately became friendly with them. They patted the crewmen on their chests, evidently a sign of friendship.
  • During the voyage, Darwin spent most of this time exploring on land: three years and three months on land, 18 months at sea.
  • In Cape Town, Darwin went to visit Sir John Herschel. They had many conversations about volcanoes, earthquakes, the movement of continents, the origin of mankind and how new species came into being. Darwin would end up buried next to Sir John Herschel in Westminster Abbey, London.
  • On October 2nd, 1836; the H.M.S Beagle finally arrived home after a voyage of four years, nine months and five days.

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[edit] Technical Specs

Source: DVD
Video Codec: XviD 1.1.2 Final
Video Bitrate: 1763 kbps
Video Resolution: 720x400
Video Aspect Ratio: 1.800:1
Frames Per Second: 29.970
Audio Codec: 0x2000 (Dolby AC3) AC3
Audio Bitrate: 192kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: English
RunTime: 49:43.977
Part Size: 700MB
Subtitles: English
Ripped by: twiftwix

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