April 19

1882 — Death of Charles Darwin


“What can we expect to uncover, Professor Hagan?”

“Well, my early findings suggest that, many eons ago, a different species evolved in this isolated region.”

“Let’s be clear, for our viewers.  You and your team have done preliminary work, but you haven’t yet ventured into the caves we’ll be exploring.”

“That’s correct.  We’ve found some confirming evidence that I’ll be able to share throughout the hour, but I expect the more significant discoveries to be revealed as we delve deeper into this sealed cavern.”

“So, people watching at home will make the discoveries along with you and your scientific team.  How exciting!”

“That’s the plan.  Your network provided a unique opportunity for funding, after other sources rejected our findings as — ”

“Ahem.  Thank you, professor.  We’ll all be very interested to see what you uncover!  Can you explain what’s happening now?”

“The drills are breaking through the bedrock.  The chamber below has been sealed for many thousands of years after a cave-in.  Our ultrasound readings suggest a large cavern, possibly with tools and daily items, hopefully some fully preserved skeletons.”

“It will be a chance to look inside a caveman’s living room, right?”

“I wouldn’t put it quite that way.”

“And you’ve also suggested that we might find that elusive ‘missing link.’  Today’s discovery could finally offer proof of Darwin’s theory of evolution!”

“Oh, no.  That theory’s already been proven multiple times.  I think for ratings, your network — ”

“Goodness, what was that noise?  I think the drill’s broken through.  You can see quite a cloud of dust forming at the cave opening.  Can we zoom in on that?”

“As I was saying.   There’s a lot of misconception about evolution.  The real proof lies not in the complex organisms such as humans and primates and Galapogos lizards.  We see evolution better at the level of microorganisms, with many more species and opportunities for variation.”

“Sorry to interrupt, but I’ve got to mention this terrible smell, which our home viewers can’t appreciate.   Is it safe to be breathing this?”

“If you’ll only pay attention.  Microorganisms evolve, and that includes viruses and other forms of transmittable disease.  To answer your question, a modern immune system might not — ”

“And that cloud of dust is rather damp, too.  Some moisture is beading up on my skin:  can the camera get a close shot of that?”

“I meant to say…oh…I should have…”

“Professor Hagen?  You look a little under the weather.  To tell the truth, viewers, I’m not feeling so good myself…”