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Happy Birthday Darwin!

Today we celebrate the life of one of the most famous natural historians to have ever lived. Darwin’s contributions to science are countless, and on the 12 of February, the world comes together to celebrate the life of this amazing man.

Charles Darwin, born 12 February 1809, would be turning 210 years old if he was still alive today. Unfortunately his famous theory of natural selection has yet to produce humans that can live that long, but his legacy lives on in the precious and rare specimens he left behind.

The National Herbarium of Victoria recently discovered a rare and invaluable dried plant specimen hand-collected by Charles Darwin himself during his famous voyage aboard the H.M.S. Beagle from 1831–1836.

The ‘Type’ specimen of Amphiroa exilis, a species of red algae, was discovered as part of an ongoing curation of the Foreign Collection. A ‘Type’ specimen means that this is the first of its species to ever be formally collected and recorded.

The specimen was collected in 1832 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Its discovery now means that the National Herbarium of Victoria joins a short, prestigious list of herbaria that possess a specimen collected by Darwin during this voyage.

As the herbaria scientists curate the 1.5 million specimens in the collection, they continue to unearth secrets and stories just waiting to be told.

Happy birthday Darwin and thank you for honouring Melbourne Gardens with this precious specimen find.

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