Episode 6: The Linnean Society of London


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For the sixth episode of our DART podcast series, my colleague Steph and I journeyed to Burlington House, the home of The Linnean Society since 1873, to meet with Elaine Charwat, Deputy Librarian for a private tour of its collections. After a private tour of the environmentally controlled, bomb-proof room, deep in the basement of the society which houses Linnaeus’ research library, the first Systema Naturae, his original specimen collections and a book from 1484 (a Herbal, a book about plants) we sat down in the society’s library to find out more about the collections and their importance from Elaine. Not before getting to grips with the fact that it was in the meeting room of the society that the first official mention of evolution through natural selection, central to Charles Darwin’s ‘The Origin of Species’ (1859), was first publicly discussed at a meeting of the society on 1 July 1858. The joint paper by Darwin and Wallace was entitled ‘On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties’.

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