Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, peered at scores of fossils 165 years ago that British researchers found, in an announcement Tuesday.
Howard Falcon-Lang, a paleontologist at Royal Holloway, University of London stumbled upon the long-lost fossils in an old wooden cabinet in British Geological Survey, according to The Associated Press.
The fossils were labeled C. Darwin Esq., but Falcon-Lang wasn't convinced the fossils belonged to the famous scientist, but the treasure trove soon proved to be the real thing.
The fossil collection, 314 slides, includes fossils collected by Darwin and his colleagues including John Hooker, a fellow botanist and John Henslow, Darwin's mentor at Cambridge University.
The first slide Falcon-Lang found was from Darwin's expedition on the HMS Beagle, one of the landmark voyages that laid the foundation for Darwin's work on evolution.
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.
The researchers put the collection online here.
Other institutes have put their own fossil collections online.
British Arctic Survey:
Thomas Jefferson Fossil Collection:
Paleontological Research Institution:
This collection in affiliation with Cornell University includes a searchable database.
Utah's Cambrian Life:
The Cambrian period about 500 million years ago marked an explosion of complex lifeforms as seen in this fossil collection.
University of Southampton:
This fossil collection is stripped-down and contains mainly images with few explainations.