Light Shining into a Tangled Bank

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Light Shining into a Tangled Bank.
A view through a thicket of trees as seen from the Sandwalk near Darwin’s Down House in Bromley, England.
Image: GrrlScientist 31 August 2008 [larger view].

The last paragraph in Darwin’s On The Origin of Species;

It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.

I snapped this picture while strolling along The Sandwalk near Darwin’s Down House and I really love it. It would probably be better if I had a filter on my camera lens when I took the picture, but it’s still really nice, especially considering that this image was not altered in any way. Needless to say, I am very proud of this image and just had to share it with you.


About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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0 Responses to Light Shining into a Tangled Bank

  1. Larry Ayers says:

    That’s a very nice and evocative photo! Keep up the good work, GrllScientist!

  2. Strangely of all the photos I took when I went, I somehow stupidly omitted to take any of the Sandwalk. I’ve a couple of pics of the house viewed from the Sandwalk, but none of the actual path itself.

  3. Heather says:

    Lovely photo! The lighting was wonderful. Thanks for sharing.