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Darwin Correspondence Project

Life sciences

Over the course of his working life Darwin studied a wide range of organisms from coral to worms, dogs to pigeons, orchids to carnivorous plants.  His letters often describe in great detail experiments and observations some of which never made it into print.


The evolution of honeycomb

Darwin recognised that explaining the evolution of the honey-bee’s comb-building abilities was essential if his theory of natural selection was to be taken seriously, and in the 1850s he carried out his own experiments at his home at Down House in Kent, and wrote many letters on the subject.

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