Sunday, February 12, 2012

Free Fiction for Darwin Day: Darwin's Suitcase

In honor of Darwin's birthday, a little free fiction: "Darwin's Suitcase" by Elisabeth Malartre.

It's  a story about Darwin meeting a time traveler who tries to convince him that his future publications will change the world.


The time traveler presents a moth to Darwin as a gift. Here's a a little background on its significance:

In 1862 Darwin predicted
 that the unusually long spur of the Madagascar orchid (Angraecum sesquipedale) meant that there must exist a moth with a proboscis long enough to reach the nectar and ensure pollination of the flower. Such a moth (Xanthopan morganii praedicta or Wallace's sphinx moth) was discovered in 1903, but it wasn't confirmed until 1997 that Wallace's sphinx moth is indeed the pollinator of Darwin's orchid.


Read Elisabeth Malartre's "Darwin's Suitcase" at Jim Baen's Universe.


Happy Darwin Day!

More information: 

"Darwin and Wallace's Predictions Come True" by George Beccaloni at the Alfred Russell Wallace Website

"Was Darwin an ecologist?" at the Darwin Correspondence Project


Image: Detail from Sphinx moth fertilizing Angreguom gesquipedale (orchid) in Madagascar, from Alfred Russell Wallace's article "Creation by Law" Quarterly Journal of Science Vol. 4 (1867). The article supported Darwin's hypothesis.

1 comment:

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