Dinosaurs, Gorillas, & More: Re-remembering Richard Owen

Sir Richard Owen is often remembered for his massive row with Charles Darwin and Darwin’s followers over the theory of evolution through natural selection. Scientists like Thomas Huxley painted Owen as a backward creationist who didn’t conduct good science. But Owen was much more complex than that. Though he didn’t fully agree with Darwin’s version…

A Toast to Darwin’s Origin & Lucy’s Discovery

November 24th is arguably my favorite day of the year. Not because it’s Thanksgiving this year, or because ski season has officially begun (though both of those are great), but because a couple of pretty incredible events occurred on this day in history. On November 24th, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published AND…

Murdering Their Child: Wallace, Darwin, and Human Origins

Wallace and Darwin Alfred Russel Wallace was truly a fascinating man. His story is made up of travels and shipwrecks, but also hardship and friendship. But mostly, Wallace just loved nature. As many of you know, while researching biogeography in the Malay Archipelago, Wallace came up with a very similar theory to Darwin’s natural selection. Wallace sent Darwin…

Who was George Busk?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about George Busk. He was a surgeon and paleontologist who lived in London in the nineteenth century (at the same time as Darwin) and he studied everything from sea moss to cave bears–even human skulls. Over the past few years, I’ve sifted through dozens of Busk’s old notebooks,…