Darwin went on they Journey of the Beagle before he started his work on evolution. It was his journal, originally written for his family that was later published and secured his name as a naturalist. On the voyage of the beagle wich lasted five years, Darwin spent most of his time on land, collecting fossils, collecting living organisms and noting the many geological features he came across. He even collected many specimens that were new to science at the time.

external image Voyage_of_the_Beagle.jpg
Map 1- showing a map of Darwins Voage of the Beagle (Wikipedia, June 2007)

During Darwin's journey of the Beagle, Henslow gave certain naturalists access to view the geological letters and fossil specimen, therefore when Charles Darwin returned to England on October 2nd 1836, he was already a star in the scientific society. After a short holiday where Darwin was able to rest and visit his family, he returned to Cambridge, where Henslow advised him to assign his findings to other scientists to help file. Through this, Darwin was able to meet Richard Owen who had the facilities of the Royal College of Surgeons at his disposal. Owen was assigned to look at Darwins fossil bone findings, using the facilites of the Royal College of Surgeons, gigantic sloths, a hippopotamus-like skull from the extinct rodent Toxodon and armour fragments from a huge extinct armadillo. These animals as Darwin predicted closely resembled animals from South America, rather than animals in Africa.