Episode 28 – Charles Darwin

Listen to Episode 28 on PodBean, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever podcasts are provided!

February 12th is Darwin Day! On this day, biology-nerds like us – and our special guest, Dr. Sarah Bray! – celebrate the birthday and life achievements of the scientist who ushered in our modern understanding of the subjects that underlie just about every topic we discuss on this podcast: Charles Darwin.

In the news
Orange cave crocs might be becoming a new species!
It seems insects really ‘took off’ once they evolved wings.
An incredible collection of Cretaceous footprints – from a NASA parking lot!
[And the paper is open access – check out those figures!]

Charles Darwin wasn’t the first scientist to investigate the questions of if, why, and how organisms change through generational time, but he is arguably the most famous. Darwin’s most influential publication was On the Origin of Species, in which he presented and defended the insights he had gained over his years of experimentation and during the Voyage of the Beagle.

Charles Darwin at the age of around 30 (left) and around 70 (right).

The Origin is the subject of the excellent first season of the Discovering Darwin podcast, hosted by Sarah and two of her colleagues. The second season currently in progress is about Darwin’s voyages around the world. If you’re a Darwinophile, or interested in becoming one, give them a listen. David is an avid listener, and rates it as one of his favorite podcasts.

Darwin’s famous voyage on the HMS Beagle took him all around the world. (Image from Webmaster at the German Language Wikipedia)

And now, some links!

Darwin Online is an excellent resource full of Darwin’s writings, including letters and notebooks.
About Darwin is a great source for timelines and maps of Darwin’s adventures!
The Darwin Correspondence Project is for those of you interested in Darwin’s letters to and from his global network of friends.

Sarah also made some Darwin book recommendations for those who want to dive deeper:
Adrian Desmond and James Moore. Darwin’s Sacred Cause: Race, slavery and the quest for human origins. [Amazon]
Alan Moorehead. Darwin and the Beagle. [Amazon]
James Costa. Darwin’s Backyard: How small experiments led to a big theory. (Costa also has a great annotated Origin) [Amazon]
Ruse and Richards. The Cambridge Companion to the Origin of Species. [Cambridge]
James Costa also has a great Annotated Origin.
Sarah also mentioned work by biographer Janet Browne.

And, for one more: David’s favorite book about Darwin is The Reluctant Mr. Darwin by David Quammen.

And now, some pictures that Sarah shared with us!

Not only did Darwin leave behind a ton of his own notes, his children left behind some doodles they made on his unused writing paper! More at the AMNH Darwin Manuscript Collection.
Here’s Sarah following in Chuck’s footprints in the Galápagos!
Go It Charlie
David also mentioned this on the podcast.

Happy Darwin Day!

If you enjoyed this topic and want more like it, check out these related episodes:

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