Here’s a photograph I took several years ago at the National Zoo’s “Think Tank” exhibit on primate cognition. Darwin Day is one week so I thought I’d share.
The text is a little hard to read so here’s transcription:
“This exhibit is about animal thinking. It contains some things you may agree with, some you may disagree with, and others that may even trouble you. Come explore and see what you think.”
The warning sign was crafted by Smithsonian staff to cater to snowflake creationists who complained about the “Changes over millions of years have resulted in today’s humans” panel that covered the age of the earth, human evolution, and how natural selection works.
The “see what you think” part suggests to visitors that the facts presented within are up for debate and thus shouldn’t undermine somebody’s alternative views about human origins or the age of the earth. But, of course, the warning signage undermines the experience for all visitors. I.e., a curious but uninformed visit might assume that the exhibits are just wild guesses about what might have happened. A shameful use of tax dollars, in my opinion.
Posted in Biology, Education, Graphic design, Photography, Science
Tagged alternative facts, biology, brain, charles darwin, darwin, evolution, exhibit, fundamentalist, hominid, museum, National Zoo, natural selection, religion, science, Smithsonian, snowflakes, think tank, trigger warning, trigger warnings, warning, young earth
I read a lot of books and articles about the Galapagos Islands, and it’s a tad annoying that the islands all have two names — colonial British, and modern Spanish. Most books (but not articles) have a map, but it’s invariably just a monolingual map and also fixed on a given page so it’s hard to refer to frequently. So out of frustration I designed myself a bilingual map mug. Just hold in right hand when reading modern works, and in the left hand when reading something older like Charles Darwin’s, Voyage of the Beagle. It’s also useful when reading about the various endemics that were given names according to the islands where they were first described. E.g., when reading about Microlophus albemarlensis barringtonensis (one of the lava lizards), a quick glance at the mug will tell you that the subspecies is on Isla Santa Fé, though primary species description was for the specimens on Isla Isabela.
I put it up on Redbubble in case you need one for yourself, or need a geeky gift for somebody who’s doing some reading in advance of a trip to the Galapagos.
If you’re curious about the map, it’s one I scanned from Darwin’s, Journal of Researches. It’s probably not suitable for navigation purposes, FYI, especially if filled with hot canelazo.
Posted in Biology, Education, Science
Tagged biology, charles darwin, Ecuador, English, evolutionary biology, galapagos, Galapagos Islands, geography, islands, map, mug, natural history, science, Spanish, travel, Voyage of the Beagle
I finally put a few evolution-related images on a Shoppe page … just in case you need a geeky Christmas gift for somebody.
Posted in Biology, Graphic design, Science
Tagged airport code, biology, charles darwin, charles darwin has a posse, Eurocode, evolution, galapagos, gift, i think, map, oval, phylogeny, science, sticker, tree of life
On November 24th, 1859, Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Eventually shortened (thank, God) to, On the Origin of Species. First editions can easily fetch $200,000 at auction. Not all copies have been accounted for, so check your shelves. This one is owned by the American Philosophical Society, which also has a huge and entertaining collection of translations and even the draft title page that Darwin sent to Lyell. If you’re shopping for a gift for a young science fan, get Dr Jan Pechenik’s version,
Just a few Galapagos photographs pulled from my Instagram feed. Click or mouse-over to read captions, and email me if you have any burning questions. I only had a few seconds to take many of these shots because the tour I was on was the regular “forced march” variety, and you’re required to stay in sight of the guide. Would love to go back for a more leisurely visit, ideally with a guide who has impaired mobility and walks slowly. I’ll be posting more pictures in the coming weeks, so follow me on Instagram if you’re a Galapagos fan.
Posted in Biology, Education, Photography, Science
Tagged animals, biology, charles darwin, endemic, evolution, galapagos, guide, islands, nature, photography, plants, tour, travel, wildlife