Two precious “stolen” Darwin notebooks: appeal for help from Cambridge University

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London | Cambridge University on Tuesday launched an appeal to find two Charles Darwin notebooks it believes stolen from its library, one of which contains his sketch of the “tree of life”, which has become the symbol of his theory of evolution.

“Following an exhaustive search, the largest in the history of the library, the curators concluded that the notebooks, first reported missing in January 2001, were likely stolen,” the report said. prestigious English university on its website.

Cambridgeshire police have been notified and the notebooks, estimated to be worth several million pounds, have been added to Interpol’s stolen artwork database.

“I deeply regret that these notebooks remain nowhere to be found despite a great deal of large-scale research over the past 20 years, including the largest research in the history of this library earlier this year,” said Jessica Gardner, the director of library services.

This call for help is launched on “evolution day” which commemorates the anniversary of the first publication of “The Origin of Species”, a major scientific work by the English naturalist, on November 24, 1859.

The work of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), father of the theory of evolution, made it possible to understand that Man was neither at the center nor at the top of life.

In the summer of 1837, on his return from a round-the-world trip aboard the British Navy’s scientific vessel, the Beagle, he sketched in his notebook a “tree of life”, the basis of his theory of natural selection which will be presented in “The Origin of Species”.

The university explained that the two notebooks were taken out of the room where the library’s most valuable works are kept to be photographed in September 2000.

During a routine check in January 2001, it was found that the small box containing them, the size of a paperback book, was no longer in its place.

For many years, librarians believed that notebooks had been put back in the wrong place in the library, which houses around 10 million books, maps, manuscripts and other items.

An email address has been set up to report any information on these notebooks:

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