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Charles Darwin’s Scottish Connections

Charles Darwin, 1874Whilst the initial inspiration for Scotland’s year of Homecoming in 2009 was Robert Burns’ 250th birth anniversary,  we would also like to pay tribute to another important anniversary in 2009 - the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work, On the Origin of Species.

Dominic J. McCafferty, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Glasgow, has explored Darwin's connections with Scotland. Talking to the BBC website, he believes that his ‘early student days (at Edinburgh University), his observations of natural history in Scotland and his connections with Scottish scientists influenced him greatly.’

‘During the winter he walked the shores of the Firth of Forth with the zoologist Robert Grant and trawled with the oyster fishermen of Newhaven for specimens. While at Edinburgh, Darwin gave his first scientific presentation to the student Plinian Society on his observations of sea-shore animals.’

‘In Scotland, we should be proud to be associated with the greatest naturalist to have lived and perhaps take a little credit for inspiring some of his remarkable achievements.’

Read the full article
Take a look also at the Darwin200 website (, where you’ll find details of a national programme of events honouring his scientific ideas and their impact.