Competition Winner – Megan

Megan is the first winner of our science writing competition, and entered the 10-12 year old category. She is 11 years old and from the UK. Megan’s piece is all about the story of the Father of evolution, Charles Darwin. It was a wonderful read, engaging for the reader and very impressive for someone so young. Congratulations Megan.

Evolution: The Story So Far

Hello, welcome to evolution…the story so far… to begin I wanted to explain to you how this one man (Charles Darwin) came to be so famous and what he was famous for.

Charles Darwin was the first person to try to explain the simple scientific theory that evolution is caused by natural selection and that humans and animals share similarities, they may also share common ancestors! Charles Darwin was born into a wealthy family in 1809, his father expected him to become a doctor or a priest. Imagine that! But at Edinburgh University (where he was sent to study medicine) he found the world around him to be much more interesting. He started to help name plant specimens at the university museum, debated the history of the natural world and also learned how to stuff birds. DiSgUsTiNg! So, at only the age of 22 he went on an around-the-world voyage that took him to South America, Australia, Africa, and guess what… he didn’t come home for 5 YEARS! He found things on his voyage that could change his life forever, in fact it did change his life forever. He climbed mountains in the Andes, ventured deep into bewildering jungles and explored the Galapagos islands.

There are 13 major islands and over 100 LITTLE ISLANDS!!! That make up the Galapagos islands, which straddle the equator off the Ecuadorian coast. Galapago is an old Spanish word for tortoise. So the meaning of Galapagos Islands is “island of the tortoises”. In addition, there are 26 species of incredibly beautiful native birds, 14 of which make up the group known as “Darwin’s finches” . Amazing, I wish I had a group of birds that were named after me! Would you like a group of animal species named after you or your brother, sister or even your parents? Anyway moving on, Charles had a theory that animals and plants weren’t created by god but had adapted in different ways, the church and many Christians did not agree with this and got incredibly angry with him for going against their religion. Back in those days many people believed God and in heaven and hell, they also believed that God created the world and all of life in it. He must have really believed in his theory and was a brave man for he knew that most people would not agree in his theories.

As Charles Darwin ventured he also collected and observed different plants, fossils and animals, before studying them for quite some time learning all he could. When he eventually arrived back in England, Darwin began working with other scientists on the specimens he collected on his voyage. Around about 1839 Charles started getting quite ill and spent the rest of his life mostly suffering. Then on April 19th, 1882 sadly he died [spoiler alert]. No one knows how he died, it’s still a MyStErY! But what’s a story without a good old mystery in it?!

I wonder what we will be like in 100 years or even 1000 or 10,000 years? Will we be living on earth? Will we be living on mars or the moon? Will we have just ten fingers and ten toes or will we have eighteen or twenty? Will we look as we do or will we have the same pattern as a tiger or will we be rainbow!? Will we live in houses or underground? Will we play sports? Will we eat meat and fish or will we eat plants like cows, sheep, horses and goats? Do you think we will have 8 arms like spiders? You would be able to do all your homework at once! What do you think we will be like in the years yet to come? The possibilities are endless!

Sadly, I have come to the end of our evolution, the story so far journey. I hope you have enjoyed it? I challenge you to think of how we might evolve in the future. What might have changed? How might we look different? See you next time (if we aren’t still in lock down).

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