Copenhagen's Natural History Museum of Denmark had hoped to find an item Darwin had borrowed from his Danish colleague Japetus Steenstrup, but correspondence between the pair revealed the existence of the unusual present, reports The Copenhagen Post. According to the museum's Hanne Strager, the father of the theory of evolution did more than return samples of acorn barnacles borrowed from Steenstrup, he also returned a box with an additional 77 barnacles to the Dane as appreciation for his help. Strager did not know this until she studied their correspondence.
55 of the 77 arthropods sent by Darwin in 1854 have been found. They will be put on display as part of a large exhibition. “To display a gift from one of the world's greatest scientists is something unique for a museum," Hanne Strager says, "Here we have a personal relationship with exactly the man behind biology, and perhaps the greatest scientific breakthrough: the theory of evolution."
Ooh, nice conversation pieces.
I never had much use for barnacles myself.
I hear they're edible.