Wednesday: Hili dialogue on Darwin Day

It’s Darwin Day—the 205th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin (and, of course, of Abraham Lincoln, who was born on the exact same day). Hili is celebrating in her own way:

Hili: Do you know what kind of bird that is in that tree?
A: No, it’s too far away.
Hili: What would Darwin do?
A: Shoot it and have a good look at it.
Hili: Then would he eat it?
A: No, he would stuff it and send it to London.
Hili: What a silly thing to do.


in Polish:

Hili: Czy wiesz co to za ptaszek siedzi tam na gałęzi?
Ja: Nie, jest za daleko.
Hili: A co by Darwin zrobił?
Ja: Pewnie by go zastrzelił i porządnie obejrzał.
Hili: I zjadł by go potem?
Ja: Nie, wypchał by go i wysłał do Wielkiej Brytanii.
Hili: To głupie.


  1. Posted February 12, 2014 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    In fact Hili, there is a good chance he did eat it first. Famously he was eating a rhea when he suddenly realized it was an undescribed variety, then he also ate an owl on one occasion, for he was President of the Cambridge Glutton Club

    & of course there is the story of him collecting beetles when he had one in each hand, saw a third he wanted so put one in his mouth…

  2. Notagod
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Happy Darwin’s day Hili!

    Happy evolving to one and all!

  3. Posted February 12, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Frankly, I would much prefer remembering Darwin visiting the London zoo where he presented the orangutan with a mirror and watched her reactions with wonder and admiration. Biology is, after all, a lot more than collecting specimens.

    • Dominic
      Posted February 12, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Recall how in Chile he crept up on a Lycalopex fulvipes, now very rare, & killed it with his geological hammer?

      There is a novel about his friend Syms Covington, “Mr Darwin’s Shooter”, by Roger McDonald.

  4. Posted February 12, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Happy Monkey, Hili and everybody else!


  5. Parker
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Color me clueless here, but would Darwin really have shot the animal? I just couldn’t imagine Darwin bludgeoning one of his eponymous finches…

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 12, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      In his day, Darwin was an avid collector and naturalist. I don’t have figures for his collections on the Beagle, but he would have been expected to come back with a lot. Stuffed, skinned, preserved in formalin (IIRC there was an event in the Argentina / Falklands leg of the voyage where the sailors dropped and broke a lot of his supply of formalin, to his considerable and vocal annoyance).
      O tempora, o mores! He lived in a different time and place, with different “mores” (same root as “morals” in English).

      • Parker
        Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Very interesting. Thanks for the additional info! Taxidermied (is that a word) animals have always been kind of a phobia of mine. Makes going to the zoo hard, wah wah.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted February 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

          “Taxidered” is the formulation my dad used, but I think he made it up. He wanted to take it up as a hobby when he retired, but hasn’t found time.
          There’s still a badger and a couple of owls in the freezer, awaiting “time” though. (All road kill, or other incidental deaths.)

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