by Erin Loury, Ichthyology Lab.
Grab your favorite sister species and take her for a twirl – it’s Darwin’s 200th birthday today, and the science commuity is celebrating in style! Many people begin their journey into the natural sciences by simply marveling in awe at the colorful and diverse bounty of life on our planet – from the flashy fish of a teaming coral reef to the jewel-toned butterflies of the rainforest. A multitude of species exist in all shapes and sizes, each the product of successful genes passed on over millennia.
Today we raise our beakers to toast the man who took the time to understand what could bring about such diversity, without even knowing that genes existed. We celebrate the man who grounded our understanding of evolution by describing it’s underlying mechanism of natural selection, as published in his famous book The Origin of Species, which also marks it’s 150th anniversary this year. Surely that’s a reason for a party if there ever was one, and celebrations are happening around the world (find one near you!). There’s even one in our backyard at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, where several Moss Landing scientists and MLML graphic artist Lynn McMasters have helped create a beautiful exhibit in honor of Darwin.
You can celebrate by reading some interesting Darwin tidbits here, and just for fun try checking out your local plant and animal life with the keen eye that Darwin must have had. What are the details he might have picked up on? Maybe you’ll develop some truly “original” thoughts!