The warship Beagle was built in England in 1820. Then it was converted for research purposes. In 1831, the English hydrographer Robert FitzRoy sailed on it to circumnavigate the world. But before that, he found a future companion at the dinner table, a naturalist as well. This person's name was Charles Darwin. It is his work that will make Beagle famous and stake out its place in history. But this happened much later. At that time, on December 27, 1831, Beagle sailed from Plymouth Harbor and set a course for South America under FitzRoy's command. The voyage lasted five years – rounding South America, the explorers visited New Zealand and Australia, then returned to England. There, a very different Darwin got off Beagle – not a youth who had just graduated from Cambridge considering a pastor's career. But a young scientist who seriously pondered the origin of species and came to the conclusion that existing species evolved from others through natural selection. “It was my second birth,” Darwin said, “and I owe everything I've done for science to my voyage on Beagle.” The former captain, it must be said, did not approve of his conclusions, to which Darwin responded with a joke: “It is a pity he did not add his theory of the extinction of Mastodon and others from the door of ark being made too small.”
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