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Win a copy of National Geographic’s THE DARWIN EXPERIENCE: The Story of the Man and His Theory of Evolution


2009 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species. To celebrate, National Geographic has released The Darwin Experience: The Story of the Man and His Theory of Evolution.

From the publisher’s description:

Celebrating both the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the electrifying publication of On the Origin of Species, here’s the story of the man and the theory that opened a new chapter in the history of science—transformed into an engaging interactive experience that invites readers to unfold natural selection, evolution, and their challenging implications just as Darwin’s contemporaries did a century and a half ago.

The year 2009 will definitely be Darwin-centric, with major museum exhibitions, international symposiums, and much more, all scheduled to commemorate the double anniversary of a great scientist and the opening volleys of a controversy that still sparks debate and curiosity. Combining science, travel, culture, and history, this book is an elegant, richly illustrated volume that offers not just hundreds of full-color photographs but also a trove of removable facsimile documents that bring the subject alive.

These fascinatingly diverse memorabilia include letters, maps, photographs, sketches, newspaper articles, and more, providing telling glimpses of Darwin’s life as never before, from his early expedition aboard the Beagle to his meticulous, seemingly arcane research in the Galápagos Islands to the practical observations and theoretical conclusions that won him a pivotal place in the history of science.

I’ll be giving away three copies of The Darwin Experience: The Story of the Man and His Theory of Evolution. All you have to do is tell me what this most amazing thing you’ve seen in the natural world: animal, vegetable or mineral.

The contest will be ending on November 21 and I will randomly select three entries.

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  1. Nicole D. says:

    The most amazing thing I’ve seen is the grand canyon. Thanks!

  2. Dan D says:

    The most amazing thing I’ve seen was a double rainbow over the black rock desert during Burning man after walking through a 2 hour dust storm in the open desert.

  3. The most amazing thing I have witnessed is the yearly sardine run off the East Coast of South Africa.

    Millions upon millions of sardines gather in huge shoals and head north along the coast following higher sea temparatures.

    One sees what seems to be black clouds that stretch for miles of sardines.

    Of course this attracts masses of sharks of all kinds, dolphins and even whales not to mention all the types of sea birds that descend on the schools.

    The shoals are sometimes driven so close to the shore that the local people and visitors actually catch them in baskets, drums, plastic bottles etc. In fact in everything they can get their hands on.

    One cannot swim with the sardines, of course, because of all the sharks around but underwater photography shows what a sepctacle that is !

  4. Karen Goneya says:

    one of the most amazing things that ive ever seen is a double rainbow over our house this past summer was really cool never seen one before

  5. Renee says:

    Animal. It’s probably being face to face with a shark. Part of you knows that it doesn’t want anything to do with you and will just swim by but another part of you wants to be as still and tiny as possible until it has. They are bueatiful animals and just wonderful to watch.

  6. Summer 2008 – I was 20 and took off work to travel around the world although I’d never been outside of the US. My third stop was Kenya, where I signed up for a safari in the Masai Mara reserve. Of all the amazing animals I saw, my favorite memory of my entire life was formed when I saw lions prey and hunt zebra. That moment will stay with me forever.

  7. Melissa says:

    Druid Arch in Canyonlands National Park. The hike in was long and hot and just as I was starting to question whether it was really worth all this, I turned a corner and saw the arch and it answered my questioning with a resounding YES! it was worth it.

  8. Alison says:

    October 2001. Luc and I were in Funchal, Madeira on our honeymoon. We took a mountain hike, trekking further and further up until we reached Pico Ruivo, the highest point on the island. I remember suddenly coming upon this steep rocky trail that appeared to lead straight up into the heavens. Everything else just fall away. Even though I am afraid of heights, I had to see what was at the end of that trail. As I climbed, the air became cooler and fresher, and I realized that I was surrounded by clouds. I kept passing my hand through them, almost expecting to have some sort of light cottony residue stick to my fingers. It was an amazing, magical, unforgettable experience.

  9. Koa says:

    snorkeling with a sea turtle

  10. Bob bak says:

    The most amazing thing I have seen other than the birth of my three daughters was in a small three man sub called the Deepsee off Cocos Island. It was a large school of hammerhead sharks and Tuna circling above while at over 300 feet deep at a place called Everest. I was absolutely at a loss for words. To think I had seen a part of the ocean at a depth only about ten others in the history of mankind had a privilege to witness.

  11. Joannie says:

    The most amazing thing I’ve ever seen is the birth of a child. It’s such an awesome miracle!

  12. christine L. says:

    the starry sky at night with its incredible depth , darkness of the night and brightness of the stars all at the same time. The sense of infinity that it gives you. It is definitely something most amazing one can see, an ever woderful show that everyone of us can watch whenever they can!

  13. Do I have to pick just one…? One of the most amazing things I have ever seen is the look in my son’s eyes now that he is a father…he sees the world through his son’s eyes and in turn nature has a whole new meaning to him.another amazing thing is when the kids were little and we took them up to Crater Lake in Oregon when it was snowing. The rim of the lake was all covered in snow, yet the lake was crystal blue. I was in awe that day and still am everytime I envision that day.Majestic! A child at it’s mother’s breast is always an amazing thing and tugs at my heartstrings everytime!

  14. Stephen says:

    The most amazing thing there has ever been is existence itself: i.e. the fact that there is a universe and we somehow exist in it.

  15. Mosh says:

    While waiting for my earlier comment to pass moderation, I’ll also mention:

    – Watching a new-born Staffordshire bull terrier start to breathe for the first time in my hands

    – Cuttlefish moving and changing colour

  16. ashok says:

    Any doubts it is evolution of human species in reverse cycle evolution =>animal.

  17. Mel says:

    It is impossible to name THE most amazing thing I’ve seen. An elk nursing her calf, snow balancing precariously on a branch, a dipper swimming underwater, whales singing (Ok, I didn’t see that one, I heard it), mountains alit in alpenglow, a grizzly bear chasing a wolf….it’s all amazing.

  18. Rachel C. says:

    The most amazing thing i’ve seen is an octopus in movement. they are truly brilliant. they way the catch they prey by changing colors. amazing.

  19. The most amazing thing I’ve seen is itty bitty seeds thrown into the soil growing into bright orange carrots with only the help of sun, water, and my son.

  20. The most amazing animal I’ve ever seen is… the birth of my son three years ago. Never seen nothing like him before!

  21. Mark H says:

    The most wondrous thing I’ve seen in the natural world is a family of mountain gorillas (around 15 of them) deep in the forests of the Congo inlcuding a baby crawling up my leg. A few photos and a description are at

  22. Darcie K. says:

    The most amazing thing that I have seen was the birth of kittens.

  23. astiti says:

    The most amazing thing was Rafflesia Arnoldi flower I have seen in Bengkulu, Indonesia. The day of the blooming flower was my first experience seeing it. It was big, red and smelly but sooo beautiful…

    Oh, I really wanna be there again, someone rarely has a chance seeing it, since it rarely blooms.

  24. Michael W. says:

    The most amazing thing I have ever seen was the glow worms in the Waitomo Caves in New Zealand.

  25. Brent Dotson says:

    Arches National Park near Moab, Utah

  26. Susan C says:

    The most amazing thing I have seen was a bear in my backyard when I lived near Mt. Hood.

  27. The most amazing thing I have seen was a family of whales playing in the sea on a cruise to Greenland.

  28. The most amazing was the F5 tornado that missed our house by 1/4 mile in 1991. I can still hear it! Thanks!

  29. The most amazing thing I have seen was being inches away from a family of wild mountain gorillas in the Congo. Breathtaking! :o)

  30. Brian says:

    Watching a sea lion give birth in the Galapagos was awesome for me!

  31. SpookyET says:

    The most amazing thing I saw was a camel.

  32. Valerie says:

    For me it is the Yosemite Valley. I grew up camping there every summer. Whenever arriving at the park from the west entrance I am always struck with tears when exiting the tunnel and seeing the valley open up before my eyes. It is my happy place.

  33. Ann F says:

    The most amazing thing in nature that I’ve seen is the aurora borealis

  34. I love the ocean! I’m from the Midwest and the first time I saw the Pacific Ocean I was amazed, enthralled, captivated.

  35. Seeing the volcanos in Hawaii

  36. Mosh says:

    Argh – think the 1st two links are broken on my previous post – you need to remove the trailing bracket from them!

  37. Mosh says:

    So hard to pick just one! So here’s three:

    Mineral (and a bit of veg) – the view as you round the corner to find the tourist information office in Cogne, Italy. I’ve been lucky enough to see some phenomenal sites of natural beauty in my life but this one – with no exaggeration – took my breath away. (if I may link –

    Vegetable – Toughie. The Rafflesia I suppose was the most impressive – supposedly the world’s largest flower that I got to see in the Cameron Highlands, Borneo ( Then, I’m not a flowery person so despite being impressive it didn’t really “wow” me.

    Animal – this is more tricky as there are so many to pick from. Watching turtles swim underwater is amazing – so graceful. Working with the tigers at the temple in Kanchanaburi. But I’m going to go all soppy. Due to random circumstances of me deciding to travel when I did, my girlfriend at the time having employment problems necessitating my early arrival in NZ, then her getting a job in Doha which meant we had to return to Auckland when we’d not expected to be there… meant I got to see one of my closest friends with his hours-old first daughter despite him now living on the opposite side of the world to me (

    Can’t beat that one. Top of my list.

  38. The most beautiful animal ever seen is the majestic Royal Bengal Tigers.

  39. Baerbele1 says:

    The most amazing thing I have seen in nature is a desert sunset in Egypt.

  40. Jacqui says:

    I’ve seen a fair share of beautiful nature, from the Galapagos Islands to the red dessert of the southwest US to the rocky northern coast of Ireland. But what really stands out as an amazing moment with nature isn’t nearly so majestic. It’s the first time I took a good hard look at the seaweed that washed up on the shore of Lake Ontario. I lived just a few blocks from the lake growing up. One day I picked up some of that ubiquitous (and smelly) seaweed and realized there was a whole world living in it that I’d never seen or thought about. Tiny insects and crustaceans. Multiple plants living tangled up together. It’s too easy to look at the beautiful sunsets and forget that there’s so much life going on right under your nose.

  41. MousE says:

    CAmping on Chesterman Beach near Tofino, BC years ago. The sun went down and the stars came out like a great wheel turning in the sky, and then the stars faded out and the sun rose and a seal stuck his head out of the ocean and stared at me for a long time.


  42. Amber G says:

    The most amazing thing I have seen was a baby kangaroo up close and personal! I even got to feed it!

  43. Abbie says:

    6 cambodians on a single motorbike!

  44. john r says:

    watching the sunrise on the ocean where there is nothing but water in any direction

  45. michelle says:

    I was up close and personal to a tornado once!

  46. JoAnna says:

    The most wonderful thing I’ve ever seen in the natural world is a desert sunset. Nothing beats the beauty of a wide open sky over an expanse of cacti and raw earth.

  47. JyMystique says:

    The most amazing thing I have seen so far would surely be the migration of the dusky dolphin in Kaikoura, NZ. I was on board for whale-watching but, an unexpected turn out that we came across the migration of hundreds of dusky dolphins. Coming from a tropical country of Malaysia. I have never seen wild dolphins before. It was and still is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I remember that I was just so overwhelmed that I felt as if I was floating on air.

  48. Tony Miller says:

    The most amazing thing I have seen in nature is the desert from Saudi Arabia into Iraq. Watching the wind move the dunes is like watching the sea in slow motion. The waves rise, fall and move. Little things pop in and out of the surface as the sand waves move. t’s hypnotic.

  49. Bec Thomas says:

    I think the most amazing thing I have seen in nature to date is the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. The sonic boom that she made when she blew her top was quite the attention getter at the start of one hell of a show. I was outside when it happened and the sun getting blotted out and the start of the ash fall is something you just never forget and instills a pretty healthy respect of nature in ya.

About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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