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US Kenneth Noll, in the costume of the English naturalist, geologist, and biologist Charles Robert Darwin, at the beach in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos, Ecuador. Image Credit: AFP

Puerto Ayora, Ecuador: With a long grey beard and old-school brown suit, a Charles Darwin lookalike observes marine iguanas and the blue-footed booby - an iconic bird on the Galapagos Islands.

Two centuries after the British biologist visited the archipelago which inspired his theory of evolution, a retired US professor has tracked part of his journey all while dressed as his 19th-century hero.

Kenneth Noll, 66, professor emeritus in microbiology at the University of Connecticut, has dedicated himself to keeping Darwin's memory alive.

For the past eight years, he has adopted a British accent and fake beard to portray Darwin at museums, schools, churches, and libraries, teaching people about his travels, research, and anecdotes from his personal life.

The original Darwin traveled South America onboard the British naval ship the HMS Beagle, collecting samples of fossils, plants, animals and rocks.

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US Kenneth Noll next to a blue-footed booby at the beach in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos, Ecuador. Image Credit: AFP

He visited the Galapagos, where his observation that some species were slightly different from those on other islands, helped form his theory of evolution and natural selection which he recorded in his then-controversial 1859 book "The Origin of the Species".

"I want to try to feel the same things (Darwin) does, the same. I mean, I am a scientist, so I want to feel the same excitement he did... and I want to try to communicate that to audiences," Noll told AFP on his Galapagos visit.

As a microbiologist, Noll for 32 years studied bacteria and microbes to understand their early evolution.

His interest in Darwin led him to build a replica of the naturalist's study in his basement.

While on a week-long cruise vacation with his wife, he gave a talk to other passengers on the vessel in his Darwin garb, visited a school and the Charles Darwin Research Center where he did a presentation.

During his trip, he did promotional videos for the cruise company and the research center, while delighting tourists on the street.

"I think (Darwin) would be delighted to know someone is doing this. I mean, he wasn't necessarily trying to be a science communicator, but all his books were meant for the general public."

True to his character, Noll kept a small travel diary to write down his impressions of his trip.

He said the trip and his Darwin impersonation is "very meaningful for me and again, it really gives me a deeper grounding" in his hero's writings and experiences.

"I like making people happy and I think I'm doing that."