On December 27, 1831, Charles Darwin went on board HMS Beagle in Devonport (Plymouth). For five years, the naturalist traveled around the world in the 90-foot- (27.4 meter-) long and 24-foot- (7.4-meter-) wide three-mast ship. On October 2, 1836, the ship reached English shores again.

Originally, the Beagle had served the Royal Navy as a survey ship. However, it became famous through the expedition with Charles Darwin.

The exotic animal world of Australia fascinated Charles Darwin and baffled him: "Anyone who has faith in his own reasoning is sure to cry out: 'Surely there have been two creators at work here—one for Australia and one for the rest of the world.'"

In summer 1833 Darwin came across rheas that looked very different from each other and asked himself why the Almighty had created two such closely related species, whose environments hardly differed.

In his work The Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Beagle Darwin described every single species of animal that he studied, such as these vampire bats.