The featured blog is ‘Origins – A History of Beginnings‘. The blog is located on the website of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, begins in January 2009 and allows the reader to navigate the articles according to the month of publication as well as the category. Evolutionary theory is relevant to the emerging field of evolutionary psychiatry. The blog begins with this article and we see that the blog has been written to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth. Tongue-in-cheek perhaps they suggest the following:-
‘Had Charles Robert Darwin had access to the Internet, he would have been a blogger‘
Throughout the blog there are summaries of and links to science essays on different aspects of evolution as well as articles by guest bloggers who are able to give insights into specialised areas of relevance. Irene Chen for instance explains a theory of how the size of the genome is linked to the mutation rate while Janet Iwasa describes her work in a lab creating 3D animations of the possible origins of life and links to some of her works. Evolutionary theory offers us insights into many aspects of life and this is reflected in the breadth of topics covered within the blog. The early origins of life is an important part of the evolutionary story and the author of this article looks at the results of a simulation which suggests that life may have been able to survive the comet impacts of the Hadean era over 4 billion years ago. There is a brief discussion of and link to an article on the possible reasons for why Mendel rather than Darwin published the Laws of Inheritance. There is also a look at how evolutionary researchers are adapting to their relatively small numbers compared to other areas of biological sciences. The behaviour our early ancestors is covered in this article in which there is a discussion of indirect evidence that early humans cared for those who were experiencing diseases that had the potential to impact on their survival. There is also a look at the field of population genomics which focuses on genetics at the population level and allows a closer look at selection in action. Many areas of Darwin’s life are covered including his letter writing as well as views on a number of subjects. What I found interesting was the sheer scope of the celebrations with conferences around the world dedicated to the anniversary of Charles Darwin. Such celebrations are reminders of the more pervasive influence Darwin has had on society (as in this recent play). This blog gives readers a useful overview of how Darwin’s life is being celebrated as well as looking at a number of developments in evolutionary biology.
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