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Stolen Darwin Journals Returned

Journals belonging to Charles Darwin that went missing in 2001 have been returned to the Cambridge University library, the Guardian reports.

The notebooks, which include Darwin's famous 'Tree of Life' sketch, had been removed from the library's special collection in September 2000 to be photographed and digitized. While the library logs indicate the photographs were completed by November 2000, a January 2001 check could not find the notebooks in the collection. At first, the librarians thought the journals had been misfiled, but various searches of the collection were unable to locate them, leading librarians to conclude in 2020 that they had been stolen.

But now, the Guardian reports that the journals were returned to the library in a pink gift bag and a typed note wishing the librarian a happy Easter. It adds that the bag was left was in an area not covered by security cameras, but that police are examining footage from other cameras in the building.

The journals appear to be in good condition with no signs of damage, the Guardian adds.

Stephen Toope, the vice chancellor of the university, says in a statement that "objects such as these are crucial for our understanding of not only the history of science but the history of humankind."

NBC News adds that the notebooks are to now be part of a public display of letters written by Darwin beginning in July.

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