It Could Be Amazing

I like stories about ordinary people who've done something out of the ordinary. My favourite year in history is 1912.
Found in the tent alongside the frozen bodies of Captain Scott and his team, were 16kg (35lb) of fossils, a meteorological log, scores of notes, and rolls of film taken by Scott himself.

The dying explorers thought these too valuable to jettison, even though lightening their load could have played a part in the life and death struggle after weeks of travelling in temperatures below -37C.
Of the 2,000 specimens of animals collected by Scott and his team - 400 of which were newly discovered - the jewel in the crown was a trio of Emperor penguin eggs.

It was hoped that these would provide long-awaited proof of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

At the time, it was thought an embryo passed through all stages of its species’ evolution as it developed.

And as the Edwardians assumed the flightless Emperor penguin to be the world’s most primitive bird, they hoped the embryos in these eggs would show the link between dinosaurs and birds.

The birds had been seen before, but never with their eggs.

"It was the greatest biological quest of its day," says polar historian David Wilson, whose great-uncle, Edward Wilson, was Scott’s naturalist. "Then they collected the eggs, and all the theories turned out to be wrong."The prize fossil found alongside Scott’s body was the plant Glossopteris indica, an extinct beech-like tree from 250 million years ago. 
A newly-minted theory held that Antarctica had once been part of an ancient super-continent named Gondwanaland (now Gondwana), and had once had a climate mild enough to support trees.

It was a compelling theory. All it needed was a killer piece of evidence.

So when Scott and co found this fossil, the same as ones found in Australia, Africa and South America, it was like finding a missing piece of the Earth’s jigsaw. It indicated that these countries had all been part of the same prehistoric land mass.

Found in the tent alongside the frozen bodies of Captain Scott and his team, were 16kg (35lb) of fossils, a meteorological log, scores of notes, and rolls of film taken by Scott himself.

The dying explorers thought these too valuable to jettison, even though lightening their load could have played a part in the life and death struggle after weeks of travelling in temperatures below -37C.

Of the 2,000 specimens of animals collected by Scott and his team - 400 of which were newly discovered - the jewel in the crown was a trio of Emperor penguin eggs.

It was hoped that these would provide long-awaited proof of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

At the time, it was thought an embryo passed through all stages of its species’ evolution as it developed.

And as the Edwardians assumed the flightless Emperor penguin to be the world’s most primitive bird, they hoped the embryos in these eggs would show the link between dinosaurs and birds.

The birds had been seen before, but never with their eggs.

"It was the greatest biological quest of its day," says polar historian David Wilson, whose great-uncle, Edward Wilson, was Scott’s naturalist. "Then they collected the eggs, and all the theories turned out to be wrong."

The prize fossil found alongside Scott’s body was the plant Glossopteris indica, an extinct beech-like tree from 250 million years ago.

A newly-minted theory held that Antarctica had once been part of an ancient super-continent named Gondwanaland (now Gondwana), and had once had a climate mild enough to support trees.

It was a compelling theory. All it needed was a killer piece of evidence.

So when Scott and co found this fossil, the same as ones found in Australia, Africa and South America, it was like finding a missing piece of the Earth’s jigsaw. It indicated that these countries had all been part of the same prehistoric land mass.

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