The Winter 2004 issue of The Wilson Quarterly also has an article on Darwin’s studies of earthworms, in which Darwin made innovative contributions. Darwin was inspired to study works after a visit to his uncle, Josiah Wedgewood: “Upon arriving, he scarcely had time to put down his hat before Wedgewood had him out in the pastures, where he pointed to cinders and pieces of brick that had been spread on the ground years before and had since become buried some inches beneath. Wedgewood was convinced that the objects had been buried by the actions of earthworms, a feat that would have required far greater strength and single-minded purpose than had previously been attributed to the lowly creatures.” In old age, Darwin wrote a book on The Formation of Vegetable Mould, in which he claimed that “an acre of garden soil could contain more than 50,000 earthworks and yield 18 tons of castings per year.”
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Tuesday, March 9, 2004 at 7:02 pm
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