May 27, 2024

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Stolen Darwin notebooks return as Easter gifts

Stolen Darwin notebooks return as Easter gifts

22 years after they were last seen, the notebooks of famed biologist Charles Darwin are back at Cambridge University. Books were waiting for the librarian in a pink bag at the entrance to the library.

‘Librarian. happy Easter. X. ‘This simple note ends 22 years without leaving a trace in Darwin’s notebooks. “They are doing well and are now back to safety. Librarian Dr. Jessica Gardner told the BBC.

I found the package at the entrance to the university library on March 9. Packaged as an Easter gift in a bright pink bag, it caught Gardner’s attention immediately. I reacted with great enthusiasm and hoped that the notebooks would finally come back. Five days after the discovery, it was opened professionally and all hopes turned out to be justified: the notebooks were back and in good condition. Police say she has been taken care of.


The notebooks were gift wrapped

Photo: Agence France-Presse

“It may be small, not much bigger than a postcard, but its impact on the history of science cannot be underestimated,” Gardner said.

Both books date from the end of the 1830s, when Darwin took them with him to the Galapagos Islands, among other places, where he made the famous painting “The Family Tree for Life”. Twenty years later, this drawing was the inspiration for Darwin’s theory of evolution, which he wrote down in his groundbreaking work About the origin of species† The Tree of Life was a schematic representation of how Darwin viewed the relationships between species. Thus, the value of the books is estimated at millions of euros.

Incorrect placement somewhere

In November 2000, both notebooks were lost. At first there was no panic. When they failed to pass the review during the inventory count, library staff assumed they had finished acquiring between 10 million books. They sighed, “They were incorrectly placed somewhere.” But after a whole series of searches Did it look different in 2020: “Maybe they stole.” Only then was the police informed.

Today the police are back again. Based on camera images, they want to know who eventually returned the notebooks and who stole them 22 years ago. The police investigate the case further and are looking for witnesses.

Stolen Darwin notebooks return as Easter gifts


One of the notebooks

Photo: University of Cambridge via Reuters

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