So, uh, a three week delay. This was a really dense chapter? That’s true, certainly, but perhaps more relevantly, I completely unexpectedly started an honours degree (I didn’t actually finish the application, and wasn’t exactly planning on doing so this year anyway, but they accepted me anyway). More on that later, but let’s return to the narrative.
… I observed a fact, which seems to me very curious and instructive, as showing how every character, even though it may be in some degree independent of structure, has a tendency to vary by small degrees.
Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle
After the Beagle sails from Bahia Blanca, Darwin remains on land to ride to Buenos Aires. In this chapter, Darwin discusses paleontology, ecology, the animals he finds in the area, and the war against the Indians. It’s also a rich source for fascinating insights into Darwin’s thinking, and I’ve taken the liberty of bringing out quite a few interesting quotes. Again, we can see how many observations Darwin made that led him to developing his theory.
Nearer the coast there are some plains formed from the wreck of the upper plain, and from mud, gravel, and sand thrown up by the sea during the slow elevation of the land, of which we have evidence in upraised beds of recent shells, and in rounded pebbles of pumice scattered over the country. At Punta Alta we have a section of one of these later-formed little plains, which is highly interesting from the number and extraordinary character of the remains of gigantic land-animals embedded in it.