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Challenger expedition

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The Challenger Expedition was a scientific expedition that made many discoveries to lay the foundation of oceanography. Prompted by Charles Wyville Thomson of Edinburgh University, the Royal Society of London obtained the use of a ship, HMS Challenger, from the Royal Navy and, between 1870 and 1872, modified it for scientific work, equipping it with separate laboratories for natural history and chemistry.

The ship, commanded by Captain George Nares, sailed from Portsmouth on December 21, 1872. Under the scientific supervision of Thomson himself it travelled nearly 70,000 miles surveying and exploring. The result was the Report Of The Scientific Results of the Exploring Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during the years 1873-76, which, among many other discoveries, catalogued 4,000 previously unknown species of animal. John Murray, who supervised the publication, described the report as "the greatest advance in the knowledge of our planet since the celebrated discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries".

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