Evolution Talk

By Rick Coste

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Becka Jordan
 Jan 3, 2020
Absolutely fantastic, a must listen for those interested in the finer details of our planet's life evolution through the ages. Brilliantly researched and presented.


Everything you wanted to know about evolution by natural selection in short, easy to digest, episodes. Hosted, and produced by writer Rick Coste.

Episode Date
Bringing Back the Mammoth

Colossal Biosciences hopes to reintroduce the wooly mammoth to the world, thosands of years after the last one walked the earth.  If successful they will have paved the way for a "de-extinction pipeline" for other lost species.


For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste


Oct 03, 2022
A Gut Feeling

Evolution by Natural Selection has assisted many amazing symbiotic realtionships.  Here's one you may not be familiar with, and which you're a partticipant in.  It involves your gut microbiome.


For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Evolution Talk's TeePublic Store

Sep 26, 2022
The Immortal Gene

In 1976, British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins publised The Selfish Gene.  It made exactlty the splash he’d intended, but people were confused. How can genes be selfish?


For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Sep 19, 2022
Hitting Replay

Stephen Jay Gould once asked what would happen if the evolution of life on Earth were to take the same path if we had the ability to start it all over again?  In this episode we'll ask the question again ...


For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Sep 12, 2022
The Joy of Mutation

Imagine a world without mutants. I don’t mean those super-powered heroes that populate the comics and movies from Marvel. I’m talking about you, me, and everyone else we know.  We are all mutants trying to survive.


For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Sep 05, 2022

Just what does the act of chewing have to do with brain size and evolution?  Perhaps nothing or everything.  A team of researchers is helping us to understand exactly how much energy is involved when we use our jaws.


For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Aug 29, 2022
Evolution Talk is Now a Book

I'm excited to announce that the Evolution Talk book will be published by Prometheus Books on Oct. 2022!  The Oldest Story Ever Told can now sit on your book shelf.

You can preorder the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or anywhere else you buy your books.  You can also do so through the links here: https://evolutiontalk.com/

Jun 14, 2022
Love is Like... Hydrogen?

It has long been believed that an early oxygenation even gave rise to the eukaryotes.  Perhaps oxygen had nothing to do with it. A castle deep beneath the ocean waves might hold the answer.

For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

May 09, 2022
A Selection Strategy

If you were somehow in control of repopulating and regenerating an area that had essentially been wiped clean of life, how would you do it?  With limited resources at your disposal would you decide to throw all your effort into producing as many offspring as possible, as quickly as possible?  Or would you take a different tasctic and produce a one or two offspring, protecting and nourishing them until they can take care of themselves?

Both strategies might work.  And that’s what nature had to do.  It had two strategies to chose from.  They are known as the r and K selection estrategies.


For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Sep 20, 2021
A Bit of Astrobiology

How do we find life in a galaxy, or galaxies, far far away while sitting here on Earth? It’s not just by looking through telescopes or sending probes.  Those will tell us a few things, but not everything.  We need a multi-disciplinary approach.  One that combines astronomy, biology, oceonography and chemistry - and that’s just to name a few.

Enter Astrobiology.


For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Sep 06, 2021
Carrion My Wayward Plant

A friend of mine recently poased a question on his podcast about carrion plants.  If you don't know what one is, the carrion plant emits an odor that is very similar to rotting flesh.This odor attracts flies which serve to pollinate the flower.  The question posed on my friend’s show was how?  How does the plant know to do this?  

For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Aug 23, 2021
Artificial Selection

We don’t know why dogs became man’s best friend, but we have some ideas.  And those ideas take us back anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 years ago.They are perhaps the perfect visual example when it comes to witnessing the power of the gene pool and how a selection process, whether natural or artificial, can affect it. 

For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Mar 30, 2021

In this episode I want to introduce you to someone.  Actually, this someone is a thing, and this thing wiggled its way through life between two to four billion years ago.

Listener, meet LUCA. Your Last Universal Common Ancestor.

LUCA, meet your descendant.


For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Mar 09, 2021

As a kid I was fascinated by the idea of cavemen.  Of course, all I had to go on were a few porrply produced movies that depicted cavemen battling dinosaurs, which of course never happened.  I even owned an early plastic model of a Cro-Magnon man and woman.  To me the Cro-Magnon were indistinguishable from the Neanderthals.  As far as I knew they both lived in caves, wore skins of the animals they slaughtered and fought with spears.  

Spoiler alert - we really don’t refer to them as Cro-Magnon anymore.

For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Feb 02, 2021
The Cosmic Calendar

Many years ago, in 1977, astonomer and author Carl Sagan offered us the concept of a “Cosmic Calendar” in his book The Dragons of Eden.  It’s a fun thought experiment in which you take the entire hisrory of the universe, from the Big Bang until now, and represent it as calendar year. 

For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Jan 05, 2021
Dating Fossils Again

It's time to look at fossil dating again!  The last episode mentioned two dating methods used to estimate how old the Homo Naledi bones found the Rising Star cave system might be. To do so, researchers used a Uranium-thorium method as well as electron spin resonance, or “ESR”.  Let's take a brief look at what each of these entail. 

For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Dec 22, 2020
Homo Naledi 2020

Quite a few episodes back, I produced a show that looked at a new hominin species discovered in 2013. This history-changing discovery happened when paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, assisted by cavers Rick Hunter and Steve Tucker, explored the Rising Star Cave in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. I thought it’s about time we revisited that earlier hominin species. Think of it as an update on what science has to say about them now.  

For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Dec 08, 2020
Evolution Does Not Produce Perfection

Natural selection isn't perfect. It only cares that something works. If it works and is not harmful to its host, then that something is passed on.  


For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Nov 24, 2020
Is Evolution Random?

There is more than random mutations when it comes to evolution by natural selection. You also have to look at other variables outside of a genetic mutation. Variables such as the environment the organism lives in, the challenges it has to face, and its ability to find food. 


For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Nov 10, 2020
Series 2 Update

Please join me for a brief update on the show, it's future, and what you can do to help.

Nov 03, 2020
The Second Law of Thermodynamics

Evolution by Natural Selection is a beautiful theory.  But as wonderful a theory as it is, it does have its detractors.  One argument states that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics.  Is this true?


For show notes and more, please visit https://EvolutionTalk.com

Written, Produced, & Narrated by: Rick Coste

Oct 27, 2020
The Human Eye

Evolution by natural selection can build complex features through small, incremental changes. But can it build an eye?

Jan 28, 2020

Caves hide many things.  Be it shards of glass, arrowheads... or bones.  It's to whom these bones might have belonged to which often leads us on a path to great discoveries... and forgotten 'cousins'.

Jan 21, 2020
Survival of the Fittest Part 2

Consider this a 'lost episode' of Evolution Talk.  In it I talk with Stephanie Keep of BiteScis.org about the origins and misconceptions around the term 'survival of the fittest'.

Jan 15, 2020
Mary Anning

In 1811 , or 1812, a young girl by the name of Mary Anning, along with her little brother, happened upon an incredible find while digging around the cliffs of Lyme Regis in England. It was a skull. A very large skull.

Feb 22, 2016
Rosalind Franklin

It’s safe to say, and very few would disagree, that without Rosalind Franklin the double helix structure would not have been discovered when it was, nor perhaps by the same team of discoverers.

Feb 08, 2016
An Interview With Emma Darwin

Way back in Episode 30 I stepped into a time machine and traveled back to 1869 in order to interview Charles Darwin. This time around I brought someone forward in time... his wife Emma Darwin.

Jan 25, 2016
Convergent Evolution

Convergent evolution has shown us that nature will find similar solutions under similar conditions. So too might it be on other planets. Life might not look that much different that it does here

Jan 18, 2016

A cladogram will show those animals that share similar form and structures. It’s not about animals which have evolved from one another. In this episode we are going to look at clades and cladistics. We will also create a cladogram... an audio cladogram.

Jan 11, 2016
An Interview With Jonathan Tweet

Jonathan Tweet has authored a very remarkable book for children. He wasn’t just trying to make evolution and its concepts easier to understand for kids in elementary school, Jonathan was shooting for an even younger audience. The result is the book 'Grandmother Fish'.

Jan 04, 2016
Are We Still Evolving?

There are some who say that evolution by natural selection, at least when it applies to you and I, is no longer a driving force. The argument is that we are no longer evolving and that we’ve pushed natural selection aside and taken the reign of our own development.

Dec 28, 2015
Your Brain

Over the course of billions of years a small region of specialized cells began to develop sensory organs. These light sensitive cells slowly developed into eyes. Behind them another organ began to develop. It’s still there, buried beneath everything else that has developed to become your brain today.

Dec 21, 2015
Homo Naledi

In 2013 a secret that had been hidden for hundreds of thousands of years in a South African cave was discovered. Bones... many bones. Upon inspection by a team of specialists a picture began to emerge. At the center of it all is a new species of hominin - Homo Naledi.

Dec 14, 2015
The Evolution of Music

In this episode of Evolution Talk we take a look at some of the theories which have attempted to trace the evolution of music, from Charles Darwin to philosopher Daniel Dennett.

Dec 07, 2015
Math and Maupertuis

Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis was fascinated with the origin and evolution of life. If there was a creator, finding the keys to his work had to involve careful study of the facts and an examination of the natural world with critical eyes.

Nov 30, 2015

Coevolution often involves an arms race. You have a predator and prey both upping the game. Like a bat and a moth. Each one trying to outdo the other. If the change in one organism is linked to a change in another organism, genetically speaking, then coevolution is said to have occurred.

Nov 23, 2015
Why Water?

Without water there would be no life. We are lucky. Extremely lucky that it is here at all. Especially in its liquid form. It doesn’t need to be. In fact, as far as the universe is concerned, water in its liquid form is almost a rarity.

Nov 16, 2015
Misconceptions About Evolution & Natural Selection

In this episode of 'Evolution Talk' I am joined by a very special guest - Stephanie Keep from the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). Among her many talents as a writer and educator, Stephanie also loves to correct misconceptions that involve the science and study of evolution.

Nov 09, 2015
An Explosion of Cambrian Proportions

In the era known as the Cambrian, an era which kicked off 541 million years ago, life exploded. Natural Selection began to produce new creatures, one after the other. A parade of unique forms and shapes that had never been seen before.

Nov 02, 2015
An Appendix

For years the appendix has been considered a vestigial organ. In 2007 researchers at Duke University began to take another look at the appendix. While taking their closer look something interesting began to emerge. Something that had always been there but had remained hidden, or unobserved for centuries. Your appendix, that little organ that we so often remove and forget, just might be useful after all.

Oct 26, 2015
Radiation and DNA

What does radiation do to us exactly and why do we care? The American geneticist Hermann Joseph Muller worried about it back in the 1920s.

Oct 19, 2015
Mendel and His Peas

In 1865 Gregor Mendel pulled together his work on heredity in peas and produced a paper which he read to a group of his peers. Unfortunately for Mendel, the world would't be ready to listen until decades after his death.

Oct 12, 2015
Our Unique Species

In the last episode I asked the question ‘Are we unique?’ and then set about showing why it is we are not by looking at the animal kingdom. From tool use to altruism it appears that we are not as special as we might think. But, of all of earth’s creatures we seem to be the only species cursed with the ability to ask ‘why ?’ We alone appear to have the ability to look back into the past to help us to explain the present and to prepare for the future. Is it, as Darwin said, only a matter of degree, or is it something more?

Oct 05, 2015
Are We Unique?

In what ways are we special or unique? Is it because we can think, like Rene Descartes said? Or is thinking just a chemical process that directs our actions as La Mettrie would have us believe? You might be shocked to know that we don’t really know. Science hasn’t been able to touch it.

Sep 28, 2015
Hairless Apes

If chimps are our closest relative why aren’t we hairy like they are? The answer lies somewhere in the far distant past. Imagine how hot it must have been on the savannah after our ancestors left the safety of the trees to hunt for food. Homo Erectus did this almost 2 million years ago, and perhaps as recently as 70,000 years ago. They made their homes on the savannahs. They ran, played, and hunted. They fought for survival. And one of the byproducts of all of that activity is sweat. Wouldn’t it be a benefit to have less hair?

Sep 21, 2015
Master Switches

Nestled comfortably within our DNA are a set of switches. Like the light switches you casually flip on and off in your home, they are responsible for making you who you are. And just like that one regulating switch which controls the current of electricity to your home, you have one which controls certain sets of genes. It’s called the PAX gene.

Sep 14, 2015
The Predictive Power of Evolution

We can make broad predictive strokes when it comes to how an organism will evolve. But that’s all we can do. What those changes will look like, if they happen at all, is beyond our power to know. Does this mean that theories about evolution are outside of the realm of true science?

Sep 07, 2015
The Strange Case of Richard Owen

Every good story needs a villain. And there has been quite a few in the history of evolution theory. History has not been kind to Richard Owen. But just like the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Owen had his good side. Not that his good side cared about the proper treatment of his fellow man, his good side cared more about the proper treatment, and appreciation of, science.

Aug 31, 2015

In 2005 biologist Michael Skinner witnessed something that shouldn’t have happened. His mice were exposed to a toxin. A toxin which caused the children of these mice to experience birth defects. This wasn’t the surprise since the mice could easily have been exposed while in their mother’s womb. This could explain the defects. What it couldn’t explain was the fact that the next generation also had this defect.

Aug 24, 2015

If you’ve ever wondered why mice have been, and continue to be, science’s favorite research tools it’s becaus we are a lot a like. Yes, that little four legged furry bundle of whiskers and pink feet shares 99% of its genes with us. 75-80 million years ago that 99% was 100%. That was when our most recent common ancestor walked the earth. That ancestor split off into different directions. One lineage led to and the other led to mice.

Aug 17, 2015
The Hobbits of Flores

In 2003 something was found in a large limestone cave located in Liang Bua, Flores. It was a small skull which was at first identified as being that of a small child. Upon further examination there was something odd about the skull. It didn’t appear to be exactly what the researchers assumed it to be.

Aug 10, 2015
Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary psychology seeks to explain why we feel the way we do in certain situations. It also looks to understand what psychological adaptations were naturally selected to accompany us on our journey forward through time. Just like an archaeologist digs into the sands of time to piece together the physical world, it may be possible to do the same for the psychological world.

Aug 03, 2015
The Missing Link

Darwin himself never used the term ‘missing link’. He wasn't concerned with a missing link but he was concerned with gaps in the fossil record. It wasn’t that he thought these gaps hurt his theory. So where did this term come from and why is it still used?

Jul 27, 2015
Self-Directed Evolution

Mankind has only just begun to unlock the secrets hidden within our DNA. As we move from gene to gene we will begin to see how it all ties together, and where evolution made a few mistakes. It will be within our power to correct those mistakes.

Jul 20, 2015
Mitochondrial Eve

Mitochondrial DNA is only inherited from your mother. Everyone alive on earth today can trace their lineage back to Mitochondrial Eve. We know this because we’ve all received our Mitochondrial DNA from her. It has been passed down generation by generation from mother to daughter.

Jul 13, 2015
The Anthropocene

The Cretaceous period ended 65 million years ago as did the reign of the dinosaurs. According to the International Union of Geological Sciences, we are currently in the Holocene. The Holocene has seen a number of changes. It’s seen us cultivate the land, store food, and build long standing shelters. It’s also seen us craft tools to shape the world around us. Some scientists have proposed calling this era the Anthropocene.

Jul 06, 2015
Having a Laugh

It’s probably safe to say that everyone enjoys a good laugh. But where did it come from? What is it about laughter that gave us an advantage over our ancient competitors?

Jun 29, 2015
Punctuated Equilibrium

In 1972 Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldridge published a paper that immediately went viral among biologists. Gould and Eldridge pointed out, using the fossil record as evidence, that evolution by natural selection worked in a series of starts and stops. There were periods of stasis where no changes occurred. They called this theory Punctuated Equilibrium.

Jun 22, 2015
The Piltdown Man

In the late 19th century, Europe was having a grand old time when it came to fossils of ancient hominids. The problem was - nothing was being discovered in England. Germany had the Neanderthal and France had the Cro-Magnon. In the summer of 1912 all of that changed.

Jun 15, 2015
Darwin’s Bulldog

On June 30, 1860 a great debate took place at the Oxford University Museum. This debate helped to launch Thomas Huxley's career as 'Darwin's Bulldog".

Jun 08, 2015
Neanderthalis Extinctus

In the last episode we came face to face with the Neanderthal. What happened to the Neanderthal? Did they die on the battlefield or did they live out their lives in a quiet struggle for survival while modern humans settled around them? Was they killed... or assimilated?

Jun 01, 2015
The Neanderthal

in the Neander valley limestone miners had found something which shocked them. They had found bones which they first thought belonged to a bear. Once Professor Schaafhausen had seen the bones he recognized them for what they were. Shortly after that the Neanderthal Man stepped into the spotlight. Were Neanderthals our early ancestors or were they a separate species?

May 25, 2015
Genetic Drift

Frog populations remained pretty much the same in Podville until the Great Fire of 2015. After the fire the population of blue frogs increased. Welcome to genetic drift, the subject of this week's episode of 'Evolution Talk'.

May 18, 2015
Non-Overlapping Magisteria

In 1997 Professor Stephen Jay Gould published an essay in Natural History which also appeared in his book Rocks of Ages. This essay was titled ‘Non-Overlapping Magisteria’. It’s commonly referred to as NOMA. The concept behind NOMA is that science and religion operate in two different, non-overlapping, realms.

May 11, 2015

Where does altruism come from? How did it evolve in a world ruled by 'selfish genes'?

May 04, 2015
Survival of the Fittest?

The term 'Survival of the Fittest' was unleashed on the world in 1864 by Herbert Spencer when he published his work Principles of Biology. It was later picked up by Charles Darwin who used it himself in the fifth edition of On the Origin of Species five years later. But is it fair to say that the term "Survival of the Fittest" is synonymous with evolution by natural selection? In this episode of Evolution Talk we explore this very question.

Apr 27, 2015
Putting the Selection in Sex

For Charles Darwin, the idea of sexual selection explained a lot of what he saw in the animal kingdom. He gave sexual selection just as much importance as natural selection.

Apr 20, 2015
Warm Blooded Dinosaurs

In 1986 Professor Robert Bakker, a paleontologist, published 'The Dinosaur Heresies'. According to Professor Bakker there have been waves of extinction, and these extinction events mainly attacked, or affected, one particular type of animal... warm blooded animals.

Apr 13, 2015
Where Are the Dinosaurs?

What killed off the dinosaurs? There are many competing theories yet there is no ‘smoking gun’. There is evidence however, and with each bit of evidence comes another theory. Dinosaurs didn’t disappear overnight. It took a few millions years for them to die out. Perhaps six million years.

Apr 06, 2015
A Whale of a Tale

Today’s episode of Evolution Talk is brought to you by all of those animals out there who exhibit vestigial features (which is pretty much every animal out there). Our DNA contains traces of our past - switches in our genes that have either been shut off or turned over the years while natural selection’s fingers hovers over the controls.

Mar 30, 2015
An Interview With Charles Darwin

To mark the occasion of Evolution Talk's 30th episode, Rick Coste steps into the past to interview Charles Darwin.

Mar 23, 2015
Mistakes Were Made

In the X-Men movies the X-Men are mutants. Mistakes were made during DNA replications that brought out features and abilities which were not present in the population prior to their births. Defects which enhanced their chances of survival.

Mar 16, 2015
Is Everything Related?

The Human genome project took 13 years to complete. Hundreds of scientists from all over the world were involved. What’s just as amazing as the completion of the project is the story that it tells when you begin to compare it with other chapters in the book of life.

Mar 09, 2015
Fossil Dating

How do we date fossils? There are a few ways and in this episode we will look at a couple.

Mar 02, 2015
Robert Chambers

Robert Chambers' masterpiece was titled 'Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation'. In it he explained how everything evolved. Everything from simple, less complex forms, to more complex forms over time.

Feb 23, 2015
The Case of Patrick Matthew

Patrick Matthew published 'On Naval Timber and Arboriculture' in 1831. There were a few positive reviews but they were somewhat tepid in their praise. Only a couple reviewers happened to notice something else that Matthew had mentioned in his book. A certain passage that appeared in the book’s appendix. This passage would would later catch the eyes of Charles Darwin.

Feb 16, 2015
The Work of WC Wells

William Charles Wells, in no uncertain terms, pointed out that mankind is not immune to nature’s ability to modify an organism's features over time.

Feb 09, 2015
Unlucky Lamarck

Jean Baptiste Lamarck's mechanism for evolution was wrong, as history shows, and that fact has haunted his memory ever since. But ideas and theories have ways of being resurrected and, in recent years, there are hints out there that Lamarck wasn’t completely off base when he proposed his theory for the evolution of species.

Feb 02, 2015
Erasmus Darwin

Erasmus was a country physician. He believed that women should have access to the same education that men did, and that slavery should be abolished. He also believed that life evolved from a single filament that wiggled out of the mud in the distant past.

Jan 26, 2015
Hutton’s Hypothesis

James Hutton saw the power of natural selection, but he didn’t see how it could eventually, over vast spans of time, mold an animal into something completely different. That would have to wait until Charles Darwin entered the scene over 50 years later.

Jan 19, 2015
Diderot’s Dream – Updated

Diderot devoured the written word. It was food for his mind and he couldn’t get enough of it. He was ravenous when it came to ideas. Especially when those ideas took him into places that others feared to tread.

Jan 12, 2015
Of Mermaids and Men

Benoit de Maillet believed that life, all life, came from the sea. And not only did it come from the sea, but it continued to evolve into different species as it encountered different environments. To present these ideas would be dangerous to him so he wrote it as a work of fiction called Telliamed.

Jan 05, 2015
Lucretius – Evolution’s Poet

In the first century BC the Roman poet Lucretius wrote On the Nature of Things. A poem with 7400 lines of verse that covered everything from the tiniest particles of matter and how they move, as well as the nature of time and space, consciousness, mortality, and the arrival of life from animals to man.

Dec 29, 2014
The Father of Zoology

Aristotle actually came close to explaining natural selection, 2200 years before Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace did.

Dec 22, 2014
Darwin and God

Charles darwin questioned everything when it came to the origin of species and the evolution of life here on earth. That questioning led him into some pretty dark places. As he grew more and more certain that nature was fully capable of producing the abundance of life around us without the assistance of a deity, the more he became afraid to say anything on the subject.

Dec 15, 2014
Darwin or Design

As a young man, the more Charles Darwin learned about nature the more he began to question things. If species were immutable, meaning they never changed, then how was it that breeders were able to change the forms of dogs or pigeons? What if something similar occurred in nature? According to William Paley nature required a designer. Charles began to think that Nature was the designer. A blind designer with no goal in mind at all.

Dec 08, 2014
Darwin’s Doubts

Throughout his life Charles Darwin suffered bouts of anxiety and often went off alone by himself to think. His work afforded him the perfect escape and he dove into it at every opportunity.

Dec 01, 2014
The Beginning: Out of the Sea

The sea was full of life a half a billion years ago. Arthropods fought to survive and there were some interesting things happening on land as well. We have here our first plants - and they spread like wildfire. The quiet life on land enjoyed by the plants looked appealing to that first vertebrate that poked its head out of the water as it supported itself with its new backbone and fins.

Nov 24, 2014
The Beginning: An Arms Race

As predators evolved to better catch their prey, their prey evolved unique and efficient ways to avoid being eaten. It was because of this sudden arms race that we see the proliferation of body forms that mark the Cambrian Era. The real winners were the Trilobites.

Nov 17, 2014
The Beginning: Multicellularity Rules

The reason natural selection had such a grand old-time with multicellular organisms is because it gave it something to select for. These organisms increased in size, moved into new areas for food, and protected themselves against the environment. It is during this period that some peculiar forms began to emerge.

Nov 10, 2014
The Beginning: Sexual Reproduction

One day, millions of years ago, something occurred between two unsuspecting eukaryotes. When they bumped into one another something magical happened. They both left that encounter slightly different than they had been before. What passed from one to the other was a few microscopic bits of genetic material. Natural selection had new toys to play with.

Nov 03, 2014
The Beginning: Cyanobacteria

3.5 billion years ago microbial organisms appeared on the earth. These organisms combined, split, and combined some more, until the formation of microbes and single-celled algae. One of these single-celled algae-like organisms were cyanobacteria.

Oct 27, 2014
The Beginning: Life

In the beginning the Earth wasn’t exactly a hospitable place. It was hot, volcanic, and oxygen was a rare commodity. So the question now is how did life emerge from these conditions? We are still asking this 4.6 billion years later. Darwin proposed a primordial pond that was teeming with the just the right materials for life to form. If so, what happened in this little pond 3.9 billion years ago set the stage for everything the followed.

Oct 20, 2014
Only A Theory

Charles Darwin had a hypothesis was that animals evolved due to a process he called natural selection. He strengthened his hypothesis with tests and observation. Evolution by natural selection has held up to every test. It is because of this that it long ago graduated from being a hypothesis to being a theory. It is a valid explanation for the fact of evolution.

Oct 13, 2014
Alfred Russel Wallace

In 1858, Charles Darwin received a paper authored by a young naturalist named Alfred Russel Wallace. In it, Darwin found that the young man had reached the same conclusions about evolution that he had been working to prove for the previous two decades.

Oct 06, 2014
Why Darwin Matters

Over the last 150 plus years there is one subject which has caused its advocates and detractors to butt heads, often with incredulity at their opponents stance, and sometimes with animosity. That subject of course is evolution by natural selection. But what does it mean?

Sep 29, 2014
On the Origin of Species

On November 24, 1859, "On the Origin of Species" was published. To say that it made a splash would be an understatement. It changed the world.

Sep 22, 2014
Darwin: The Calm Before the Storm

In the years following his return from his voyage on the Beagle, Charles settled into a life as a naturalist. On all fronts, both personal and professional, things were looking up for Charles. His days were spent pouring over his notes and the specimens he had collected from his five year voyage. He would take long walks to gather his thoughts and rarely left Down House unless he had to attend a meeting. He wasn't in any rush to publish his book however. He knew that a possible backlash was in store for him when he did. Whether he liked it or not, his views were about to find themselves on the world's stage.

Sep 15, 2014
Darwin On The HMS Beagle

Charles Darwin, at 22, had never sailed before. With his notebooks, gear, rifles, and trunks loaded, he stood on the deck of the HMS Beagle to bid England farewell. The date was 12/27/1831.

Sep 08, 2014
Darwin Before the Beagle

Charles Darwin will be forever known as the man who came up with the brilliant, and magnificent, idea that life evolved on this planet from a common ancestor and that the driver, or the mechanism behind this, is natural selection.

Sep 03, 2014
Introducing Evolution Talk!

If you've ever wondered what all of the fuss was about, or how evolution works, then you've come to the right place. Over the next few weeks, months, and years, we will look at Darwin's revolutionary theory and what it means to the life we see around us.

Aug 31, 2014