Wednesday, February 12, 2020

PBS Eons explains how evolution works for Darwin Day 2020

Happy Darwin Day!  To celebrate, I'm continuing a tradition I began in 2016 by sharing videos from PBS about evolution.  Like the past two years, this year's video is also from PBS Eons, How Evolution Works (And How We Figured It Out).  Charles Darwin, whose birthday is today, plays a starring role.

As a scientific concept, evolution was revolutionary when it was first introduced. With the help of all three of our hosts and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s new Deep Time Hall, we’ll try to explain how evolution actually works and how we came to understand it.
I started showing this video to my organismal biology class last semester to explain the mechanisms of evolution.  I would have shown it the semester before but it came out just after I finished lecturing on evolution and tested the students on it.  Darn.  It did help the students in last semester's class describe the mechanisms of evolution better than the class before them.  The only mechanism the video missed was assortative mating AKA sexual selection.  I suppose the creators would consider that a special case of natural selection and they wouldn't be wrong if they did.  Still, that's a mechanism the students have to include in their test answers.  Good thing I'm not testing my readers!

Enough science.  Stay tuned for more politics tomorrow when I write about the candidates dropping out after the New Hampshire primary.

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