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A Good Science Read: Evolution - from Fossils to Finches

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Duration: 0:37:41 | Added: 16 Apr 2024
Professor Paul Smith and Professor Frances Ashcroft discuss Wonderful Life by Stephen Jay Gould and The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner.

Wonderful Life focuses on the weird and wonderful fossils found in the Burgess Shale in the Canadian Rockies – their discovery, what they tell us about evolution and their re-evaluation many years later. The Beak of the Finch is also about evolution but rather than fossils it is about evolution in action on a tiny volcanic island in the Galapagos. It describes the painstaking work of Peter and Rosemary Grant who studied Darwin’s famous finches for over 40 years and showed that evolution can take place in real time. Their story is interwoven with that of Darwin and his studies of the Galapagos finches.

Professor Paul Smith is Director of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Professor of Natural History at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Kellogg College Oxford. He is both a geologist and a palaeontologist whose research has focussed on the origin of vertebrates. He has worked extensively in the Arctic and in 2017 he was awarded the Polar medal for outstanding achievements in the field of polar research


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