Nicholas Lawson

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Nicholas Oliver Lawson (born Nicolai Olaus Lossius, 23 November 1790 on Sekken, Norway; died 1 March 1851 in Valparaiso, Chile[1]) was a Norwegian-born vice governor of Galápagos for the Republic of the Equator (Ecuador), and who coincidentally became an important inspiration for Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory.

When the HMS Beagle survey expedition arrived at Charles Island (Floreana Island) in September 1835, Charles Darwin noted in his diary: "An Englishman Mr Lawson is now acting as Governor. — By chance he came down to visit a Whaling Vessel & in the morning accompanied us to the Settlement." Lawson described having seen a reduction in the numbers and size of Galápagos tortoises taken for meat by the whalers.[2] In his zoological notes, Darwin recorded that "It is said that slight variations in the form of the shell are constant according to the Island which they inhabit — also the average largest size appears equally to vary according to the locality.— Mr Lawson states he can on seeing a Tortoise pronounce with certainty from which island it has been brought." This was one of the points which led, later in the voyage, to Darwin's first doubts that species were immutable.[3][4]


  1. ^ Kvernberg, Anders. Mannen som visste så mye om skilpadder at han endret verdenshistorien. I: "Årsskrift 2013". Romsdal sogelag. Molde, 2013. s. 260-286
  2. ^ Keynes, R. D. ed. 2001. Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 354–357.
  3. ^ "Charles Darwin". 
  4. ^ Keynes, Richard ed. 2000. Charles Darwin's zoology notes & specimen lists from H.M.S. Beagle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 291.