Fla. Museum to celebrate Darwin’s 200th birthday with events Thursday, Saturday

February 10th, 2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Come celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, of one of science’s most influential figures, at the Florida Museum of Natural History Thursday and Saturday.

At 7 p.m. Feb. 12, join Betty Smocovitis of the University of Florida’s zoology and history departments for “Singing His Praises: Darwin and His Theory in Song and Musical Production.”

This lecture will examine the issues and controversies of Darwin’s theory of evolution through song while studying the link between modern science and pop culture. To sweeten the event, a birthday cake featuring Darwin will be served.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 14, those curious to learn more about evolution and want to see evidence of the process can take part in “Darwin Day” with Florida Museum collections staff.

Several departments from the museum will display features on evolution in action. Included in the displays will be cowrie shells, neotropical orchids, horses and primate missing links, neotropical tanagers and fossil invertebrates.

The event will culminate with a symposium on Darwin’s theory of evolution from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 14 featuring Florida Museum curators Jon Bloch, Steve Manchester, David Reed, and David Steadman, and moderated by museum vertebrate paleontology curator Bruce MacFadden. Topics discussed will include the evolution of nuts, humans and their body lice, fossil primates and the story of our origin, and Darwin’s research in Tahiti and the Galapagos Islands.

“The Florida Museum is proud to recognize the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of “On the Origin of Species,” said Florida Museum of Natural History Director Doug Jones. “Darwin was one of the greatest thinkers of all time. It is an honor for us to recognize his life as well as his ideas, such as organic evolution by means of natural selection, which probably represents the single greatest unifying concept in all of modern biology.”

For more information call (352) 273-2064 or visit www.flmnh.ufl.edu/darwin200/.

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Writer: Morgan Lamborn
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054, pramey@flmnh.ufl.edu