Carnival of Evolution #67 is up at The Genealogical World of Phylogenetic Networks.
Carnival of Evolution, No. 67 — Wallace centenary edition
Charles Darwin’s Tree of Life metaphor (from 1859) has become world-famous. However, Alfred Russel Wallace, who independently developed the idea of evolution by means of natural selection, had already used a very similar image in 1855, when he noted: “the analogy of a branching tree [is] the best mode of representing the natural arrangement of species … a complicated branching of the lines of affinity, as intricate as the twigs of a gnarled oak … we have only fragments of this vast system, the stem and main branches being represented by extinct species of which we have no knowledge, while a vast mass of limbs and boughs and minute twigs and scattered leaves is what we have to place in order, and determine the true position each originally occupied with regard to the others”.
This past year has been one in which many people commemorated the death of Wallace (1823-1913), and so it seems appropriate to join them for the final summary of 2013’s posts at the Carnival of Evolution.
Wallace spent 1848-1852 collecting in the Amazon, and 1854-1862 doing the same in South-East Asia. He is best known today for his studies of biogeography, but he also worked on what we now call environmental issues, and even what is now known as exobiology. More controversially, he also involved himself in social criticism, and atheistic spiritualism. At his death, he was as well known as any living biologist; but since then he has sadly been eclipsed by Darwin.
Blog carnivals have fallen out of favor, it seems to me; but this is one that lay people can use to better understand evolution and the real issues that scientists discuss about evolution. You’ll want to read several of the stories and posts in this collection:
- Darren Naish talks about the new paper describing a “new” species of tapir for the first time — not every day that we add a new species to the list of rather large mammals
- Did you know manatees are more closely related to elephants than to whales? One more reason to sequence the manatee genome
- Panda’s Thumb also carries the news that Jack Szostak’s work will vex creationists until the end of time — he’s got a better protocell than Sidney Fox, one that creationists will have to invent new pretzel shapes to deny.
All in all, it’s a pretty good collection of stuff. Go see.
- The Other Darwin (theatlantic.com)
- This incredible animation by Flora Lichtman and Sharon… (thekidshouldseethis.com)
- A Paper Puppet Animation on Evolution’s Forgotten Hero (blogs.scientificamerican.com)
- Poll: Republicans doubt the Theory of Evolution (sfgate.com)
- Pew Poll: American evolution-acceptance holds steady, partisan divide widens (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
Unlikely, but were Darwin and Wallace ever photographed together? Anyone know?