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Eye on Evolution: Losos, Lizards, and Experiments in Evolutionary Science
Featured Speaker: Jonathan Losos, Ph.D., Director, The Living Earth Collaborative, and William H. Danforth Distinguished University Professor, Washington University in St. Louis; recipient, 2001 Academy of Science Outstanding St. Louis Scientist Innovation Award
Darwin said we could not observe evolution “until the hand of time has marked the long lapse of the ages,” and for more than a century, evolutionary biologists believed evolution happened very slowly. But evolutionary science breakthroughs in recent years reveal that when the environment changes and natural selection is strong, evolution can, in fact, proceed very rapidly. So rapidly, that not only can we watch it as it occurs, we can actually conduct experiments to investigate the evolutionary process. In this respect, small islands are like laboratory test tubes, providing the opportunity to alter conditions and watch evolution unfold.