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Hair from Charles Darwin's beard goes on show

2008-11-14 03:21:12 GMT2008-11-14 11:21:12 (Beijing Time)  China Daily

Charles Darwin: hair from his beard is to go on display at the Natural History Museum in London. [Agencies]

Wisps of hair from Charles Darwin's beard are to go on public display 200 years after he was born in a Natural History Museum exhibition.

They were collected by his family and kept for generations in a box as a keep-sake.

Now the box has been opened up to give the public a glimpse of one of the most famous beards in history.

Randal Keynes, the great-great-great grandson of the naturalist, found them when looking through the box, which had belonged to Darwin's daughter Etty.

They were wrapped in tissue paper marked "remaining hair" and placed in an envelope on which Etty wrote "Found after his death in my father's papers".

Darwin's family had wanted to cut off a lock of hair from his beard before he was buried, but were unable to do so before his state burial at Westminster Abbey in 1882.

Instead it is thought they collected the hairs from his study desk, where the author of On the Origin of Species would sit for hours.

The exhibition also contains his notes for the landmark 1859 book and a scrap of paper on which he drew up a list of advantages and disadvantages to getting married.

Alex Gaffikin, exhibition developer at the Natural History Museum, described the exhibition as a "truly remarkable collection of family heirlooms and specimens".

'Darwin' opens at the London museum on Friday and runs to 19 April.


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