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Zoology 206

Fall, 2012

Small Mammoth

Posted by Bruce on May 10, 2012
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The smallest mammal fossils, found on Crete.

Dick Lewontin on Biology

Posted by Bruce on May 9, 2012
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I haven’t viewed this one yet, but Dick is always provocative. Comments?

Svante Paabo on TED

Posted by Bruce on May 8, 2012
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If ever a Nobel prize is awarded for evolutionary biology, Svante Paabo should be a recipient.

In 2008-9, Case Western Reserve University put on a series of lecture entitled “The Year of Darwin”. Speakers included such eminent scientists as Neil Shubin and Sean Carroll. It also included speakers from other areas, including Judge Jones, who presided over Kitzmiller vs. Dover School Board of Education in Pennsylvania in 2006. This was the first legal test of the constitutionality of Intelligent Design in public education. His decision was, I think, a remarkable one, which very clearly addresses and rules on the scientific and religious freedom issues that underlay the case.

This is one of several panel discussions on evolutionary topics that have been held at Cornell University as part of recent Darwin Days. Two of my good friends and colleagues, Warren Allmon and Will Provine, have prominent roles. As you watch this, pay particular attention to their points of view, in particular with respect to the status of eugenics thinking in today’s world. Is eugenics an historical relic, to be studied as such (Allmon), or is it in fact alive and well in the world of medical genetics (Provine)?

Professor Stearns takes an interesting approach to the subject, in that he discusses random changes in allele frequencies not in the context of their effects within populations (what he calls microevolutionary change), but rather how these processes relate to macroevolutionary processes, ones that we can use to make inferences about phylogeny. Pay particular attention to how he portrays the role played by random factors in populations and evolution, as well as the relationship between population size and the probability of fixation of new neutral mutations.

Watch it on Academic Earth

Biography of Charles Darwin

Posted by Bruce on October 21, 2011
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From the Stanford series Darwin’s Legacy, historian Janet Browne focuses on the reactions to Darwin that immediately followed the publication of The Origin of Species. How do they compare with current controversies regarding evolution, religion and society?

Watch it on Academic Earth