archeology: darwin’s beagle found?

The Beagle 2 Mars lander may be lost, but British archeologists may have found the original ship it was named after. Charles Darwin’s observations during his voyage aboard HMS Beagle in the 1830s were crucial in helping him formulate the theory of evolution. But the fate of the vessel, today an icon for scientific research, has remained mysterious for more than a century. A British paper, The Observer, reports that marine archeologist Robert Prescott of St. Andrews University in Scotland is “quietly confident” he has found the remains of the ship. Tracing the vessel’s last known movements to an estuary in Essex, England, Prescott used ground-penetrating radar to locate what he believes to be the ship’s final resting place. Radar images show a ship similar in size to the Beagle lying under 12 feet of mud inside an abandoned dock. “It is possible that this could be another ship,” Prescott told The Observer, “but I am pretty sure that we have now got the Beagle.”

This news brief appeared in the Discoveries column of the Boston Globe’s Health/Science section on 2/24/2004.
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