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Darwin's Very Bad Day: 'Oops, We Just Ate It!'07:50


This is a lesser rhea, a South American version of the ostrich.

These are rhea chops. The neck bones, leg bones, breast bones, feet, gizzards and feathers have been removed.

This is Charles Darwin around the time he ate his first lesser rhea.

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This is what Charles Darwin said to his mates in the middle of that meal, around coastal Argentina, on Jan. 3, 1834:

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And if you would like to know why Darwin leapt up; ran round the campfire removing bones from every plate; dashed to the rubbish heap to gather every bone, foot, gizzard and feather that he could find; then packed them up and sent them from Argentina to a clever taxidermist in London, all you have to do is press the listen button at the top of the page.

Darwin's reconstituted and stuffed lesser rhea has disappeared, according to London's Natural History Museum. But maybe you know where his rhea is? Perhaps in your grandmother's attic? Happens all the time. If you have any idea, drop us a line below in the comments. We'll be checking.

This story comes from two Darwin biographers, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, author of Pilgrim on the Great Bird Continent: The Importance of Everything and Other Lessons from Darwin's Lost Notebooks (Little Brown), and Eric Simons, who wrote Darwin Slept Here: Discovery, Adventure, and Swimming Iguanas in Charles Darwin's South America (Overlook).

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