Darwin’s beetles and monkey

While doing some research for Great St Mary’s interactive touchscreens about the history of Cambridge, I came across two fun facts about Darwin.

He loved to collect beetles, but had a disaster one day:

Darwin quote

You can read more and see an adorable caricature of Darwin riding one of his beloved beetles at the Darwin Correspondence Project site.

Secondly, I found that when Darwin returned to Cambridge in 1877 to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, a prankster dangled a stuffed monkey dressed in academic regalia from the gallery of the Senate House, which ‘excited some mirth’.

The Darwin family did not attend the sermon at Great St Mary’s which was preached the next day on the importance of approaching the facts of nature with Christian reverence.


This postcard of the stuffed monkey, sitting on top of Darwin’s works, was found on ebay. Apparently the student responsible for the prank was T. Collisson.

Lots more interesting information about Darwin can be found on this site created by students at his old college, Christ’s. 

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: