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students displaying different animals at Darwin Day 2020

We are pleased to announce our 2021 Darwin Day will be online beginning April 19. Below are the titles and descriptions for the asynchronous talks. 

A Matter of Survival: Field Observation on the Great Apes

Dr. Ellen Ingmanson
The Great Apes – Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Gorillas and Orangutans – are humans’ closest living relatives, sharing around 98% of our DNA.  And all of them are endangered species.  As an evolutionary anthropologist, I have been able to observe all of the Great Apes in the wild and observe their plight in person.  With this presentation, I will introduce you to these wonderful species and share some of my pictures and stories of observing them in the field.  I will particularly focus on young apes, how they are particularly affected by human threats, and efforts to help them. 

Darwinian Medicine: Evolution’s Impact on Our Health

Dr. Caitlin Fisher-Reid
Darwinian, or evolutionary medicine asks questions about the evolutionary history, evolutionary causes, and ecological context of human disease. This talk will introduce the listeners to the core concepts needed to understand human disease from an evolutionary perspective. We will explore these concepts through the lens of important medical advances based on our evolutionary understanding of autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, mental health, and infectious disease dynamics in an attempt to answer the question: why do we get sick?

Does Morphology Have a Place in Today’s Evolutionary Biology?

Maria Armour, MS
During this lecture and paired virtual activity, students will be asked to answer the question: Does morphology have a place in today’s evolutionary biology? Participants will learn what morphological research is, how it has shaped the Theory of Evolution, and how it is still being applied to current scientific studies. Using the diversity exhibited by bats as an example, I will show how evolutionary biologists create a phylogenetic tree. This lecture will compare the application of morphological trees to molecular trees, as well as identify how they are both valuable to understanding evolutionary processes. To supplement this lecture, teachers can assign their students to do an virtual activity created by an BSU undergraduate research student. In the format of a Sway, this online module will walk students through the process and teach them how to create their own morphological bat tree using digital images of bats.

2021 Virtual Darwin Day Playlist 

Morphology Module and Lesson Plan