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Kenan speaker recognizes Darwin’s achievements

Sean Carroll headshotOn the bicentennial year of the birth of Charles Darwin, biology and genetics teacher and researcher Sean Carroll paid tribute to the famous naturalist’s achievements in identifying natural selection as the driving force in the evolution of species. He spoke in Haggin Auditorium October 28, 2009, as the Kenan lecturer.

Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859 after several decades of research and writing, including his five-year investigative voyage on the HMS Beagle that took him to the Galapagos Islands, among other destinations.

“Darwin was investigating not just what animals are here, but how these creatures came to be,” Carroll said. “He was examining the geological relationship between the animals he encountered and the fossil records.”

Carroll called Darwin’s era a “golden age” in the progress of natural science and said we are now in a “second golden age” made possible by advances in genetics that allow modern scientists to “get glimpses of how new species are formed.”

Carroll teaches molecular biology and genetics and is an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Wisconsin. A 2009 NOVA special on Darwin was based on Carroll’s books The Making of the Fittest and Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo.

See Sean Carroll's Web site here.

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