United Kingdom Puzzle


Name: Birth Bicentenary of Charles Darwin
Issued by: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Type: Commemorative

Year: 2009

Sides: 8

Currency: Pound Sterling (GBP)

The stamps

These stamps commemorated the birth centenary of Charles Robert Darwin FRS FRGS FLS FZS JP. Darwin lived from 12 February 1809 to 19 April 1882.

Charles Darwin

This stamp, valued at 1st Class, is a photo of Charles Darwin. Darwin was an English naturalist, biologist and geologist who is famous for his contributions to evolutionary biology. During his trip on the HMS Beagle from 1832-35, Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands, where his theory of natural selection was cemented.

Zoology - Marine Iguana

Marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) live on the galapagos islands, and feed on underwater algae and seaweed. They are the only lizard species to swim underwater. 

Darwin was interested in the marine iguana because of their adaptations. Though he commented that they had "perfect powers of diving and swimming", he later said they were "a hideous-looking creature, of a dirty black colour, stupid and sluggish in its movements" and refered to them as "imps of darkness" and "disgusting clumsy lizards". 

This stamp features the head of a marine iguana, and highlights Darwin's work in zoology. It's face value is 48 p (British penny).

Photo by Igor Pereverzev, National Geographic Your Shot
Photo by Sandro Lonardi, National Geographic Your Shot

Ornithology - Darwin's Finches

Darwin's finches are a subfamily of 18 small tanagers, 17 of which are endemic to the Galapagos Islands. Their ancestor and nearest relative is thought to be the dull-coloured grassquit (Asemospiza obscura) which lives in South America. The dull-coloured grassquit would have arrived in Galapagos before adapting to suit the various environments found there.

Four of Darwin's finches were documented by John Gould, the ship's artist of the Beagle: Geospiza magnirostra, Geospiza fortis, Geospiza parvula (now Camarhynchus parvulus) and Certhidea olivacea. This drawing is featured on the 50 p stamp about Darwin's work in ornithology.

Cactus Finch

Photo by Kevin Watson ©

Woodpecker finch

Photo by Heikki Kainulainen ©

Geology - Atoll

Darwin came up with the following theory about atolls. Darwin made other contributions to geology, including one of the first geological maps of South America

The 56 p stamp is a photo of an atoll.

Formation of an atoll

Image from Britannica

Botany - Bee Orchid

Darwin wrote the book On the Various Contrivances by Which British and Foreign Orchids Are Fertilised by Insects, and On the Good Effects of Intercrossing (a.k.a Fertilisation of Orchids). Darwin mentions Bee Orchids in his book.

Anthropology - Bornean Orangutan

Darwin applied his theory of evolution to humans in his book The Decent of Man. He wrote that bipedality (walking with two legs) occured so the arms would be free to do other things.


Charles Darwin

Marine Iguana

Darwin's Finches


Bee Orchid

 Bornean Orangutan

Images from Colnect


Colnect / Series: Birth Bicentnery of Charles Darwin / https://colnect.com/en/stamps/list/country/224-United_Kingdom_of_Great_Britain_Northern_Ireland/series/59083-Birth_Bicentenary_of_Charles_Darwin

National Geographic / Marine Iguana / https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/facts/marine-iguana?loggedin=true&rnd=1702246309510

CNN / Watch godzilla-like sea creature use razor sharp teeth / https://youtu.be/uz_54gqGhH0?si=qXeK0sfwWaEqODrp

South America Vacations / How Darwin's Findings In Galapagos Contributed To His Theory Of Natural Selection / https://www.savacations.com/darwins-findings-galapagos-contributed-theory-natural-selection/

Galapagos Conservation Trust / Darwin's Finches / https://galapagosconservation.org.uk/species/darwins-finches/

Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation / Birth of an Atoll / https://youtu.be/pRD8ZwdPYsY?si=E2RfFnMGKTzscBkE

Michigan State University Museum / It started with a rock collection: Charles Darwin, Geologist / https://museum.msu.edu/?exhibition=it-started-with-a-rock-collection-charles-darwin-geologist

Britannica / Atoll / https://www.britannica.com/science/atoll

Ask An Anthropologist / Darwin and Evolutionary Anthropology / https://askananthropologist.asu.edu/darwin-and-evolutionary-anthropology