Guyana has a direct connection in helping Charles Darwin craft the theory of evolution. As most readers know, Darwin studied the variation of birds and used his data as evidence for his theory. And the man who taught Darwin how to preserve this evidence was Guyanese (or Guianese, if you prefer).
A new book, Darwin’s Sacred Cause reports that the man who taught Charles Darwin how to stuff bird specimens was a former slave from Guyana. Darwin’s biographers, Adrian Desmond and James Moore, say that Darwin, the son of prominent abolitionist families, did more than knock about in the rarified circles of scientific research. He also used his findings to debunk assumptions used to justify the enslavement of blacks and indigenous peoples. Darwin theorized that Europeans, along with Africans other indigenous people forced into bondage, were part of a coherent if diverse and sprawling family.
Darwin’s theory of evolution is the bedrock of all modern biological sciences. Guyanese should be exceedingly proud of this small but significant role that one of our forefathers played in this grand aspect of human civilization.
Justin De Freitas