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charles darwin books returned in pink bag

The return of Darwin's missing notebooks brings joy and relief to Cambridge University librarian.

Sometimes art imitates life. And other times, life imitates an art heist movie.

More than a century ago in the late 1830s, the innovative and disruptive scientist Charles Darwin had just returned from the Galapagos Islands. In his small, leather-bound notepad, he began to draw a vision that played on his mind: a tree with many branches.

The sketch was simple, crude even, but it helped inspire Darwin’s most elegant and groundbreaking theories on natural selection and evolution. His “Tree of Life” sketch put forth the notion that we are all connected, not just metaphorically. Without it, we might never have had his famous book “On the Origin of Species,” considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology.

Darwin's sketch of the Tree of Life. www.flickr.com

The notebook holds one of science's most important moments in history. And yet many thought it was gone forever. Until now.

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