175th Anniversary of Charles Darwin’s visit to Australia

As Mark has mentioned in the previous post, this year marks a 175th anniversary of Darwin’s return later in the year but on the 12th January 1836 he landed in Sydney Cove, Australia.

The following cover was issued on 1st April 1986 which is was the 150th anniversary of the visit to Cocos(Keeling) Islands. These islands are an Australian territory and lie in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Christmas Island. They consist of two atolls and other coral islands. An atoll is an island of coral around a lagoon.

Darwin explained the creation of coral atolls from his observations. They started as an ocean volcano and through gradual subsidence, the island sinks but the surrounding coral reef grows upwards, becoming a barrier reef island.  Over time, the subsidence takes the old volcano below ocean level and only the barrier reef remains. It is then termed an atoll.

Darwin was also fascinated by the platypus. At first he thought the platypus was so unusual, along with some of the other Australian animals that if there was a creator then it must be two different creators to make such absurd animals!

Of course later, it all fitted into his theory that the species had evolved from primitive mammals which still had many reptilian characteristics.

The platypus is a monotreme. These are mammals but instead of giving birth to live young they lay eggs. They are not primitive mammals because they have evolved over time. Mammals have evolved from reptiles. Monotremes probably branched off at an early stage and still have some reptilian features. There are 3 species of monotreme – duck billed platypus; short nosed echidna and long nosed echidna.

I also have this 1999 Australian 5c coin in my collection with echidna pictured on it. The echidna along with many australian animals have appeared on their coinage.

And please spare a thought for the floods in Australia at present.

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