The Origins of Charles Darwin’s Strangest Discoveries

Anna Green

Almost two centuries ago, Charles Darwin dug up some pretty weird fossils on a trip to South America. He wrote that the remains of one creature looked a bit like a camel with an elephant's trunk, while the other resembled a hippo with a rhino’s head and rodent teeth. Darwin described the hippo-rhino hybrid as “perhaps one of the strangest animals ever discovered.” 

The mystery surrounding Darwin’s discoveries lingered until last year when paleontologists uncovered the animals’ origins. By analyzing ancient collagen protein, the team traced the lineage of the strange creatures and found their closest modern relatives. In "Darwin's Weirdest Animal, Identified," Slate's Rachel Stewart tells the story of Darwin’s fossils, and the fascinating methods that helped uncover their origins. In honor of Darwin’s birthday (a.k.a. Darwin Day) check out the video above. 

[h/t Slate]

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