Darwin's mysterious timepiece

Story by Nicolás Cuvi with illustrations by Alan J. Hesse

Charles Darwin Foundation, Galápagos, Ecuador (2010

Award-winning author, biologist and natural historian Nicolás Cuvi brilliantly combines adventure, science and history to delve into Charles Darwin’s monumental theory of evolution. A book for all ages, to which I had the honour of contributing a few cartoons.


Martin, one of the main characters, one day finds a mysterious object among the scrub
and rocks of Santa Cruz island, Galápagos.

Using the timepiece Martin found, the heroes of the story are able to
travel back in time...and witness Darwin's landing in 1835

19th century methods of investigation would be frowned upon today.

One of the greatest breakthroughs in Darwin's thinking for his theory was the realisation that the mockingbird varieties seen on the different islands of the Galápagos all descended from a single ancestor on the continent.

" 'Can't eat this, don't want that!' - these finches are impossible!"
(Each species of Galápagos finch has evolved a differently sized and shaped bill, depending on what kinds of food are available on each island - a prime example of evolution at work and another major clue for Darwin)

The animals and plants of Galápagos originally got there by swimming, drifting, flying, or blown by the wind.

"Gasp! Look how blue their feet are! Ooh I don't know which to choose! Any one of them would make such a lovely, healthy, successful father to my chicks!"

(Mate choice, an important decision for female Blue-footed Boobies, is largely determined by males' prowess performing the nuptial dance, and the bluer a male's feet, the fitter he is).

A giant leap in the evolution of marine iguanas.

(Galápagos is unique for its marine iguanas, which contrary to their terrestrial cousins, feed on underwater algae)
My version of an original cartoon of Darwin, depicting public outrage at his "On the Origin of Species", published in London in 1859.

"On the Origin of Species" was so controversial that the first edition was sold out on the very day of its release.