Wednesday, December 30, 2009

So what did Darwin never know? Evo-devo, of course!

It was two hours well spent watching the PBS NOVA special What Darwin Never Knew last night, and I was thinking of a longer post about it when I discovered that good ol' PZ was actually live-blogging during the show! I had considered that too, but quickly given up because my limited multitasking abilities were already stretched thin between watching the show and keeping our 4-year-old entertained (something PZ no longer has to worry about I reckon). In any case, I quite agree with his assessment of the show, particularly this bottom line:
My opinion overall: the first half hour was boring to me — it was an extremely basic primer in old-school Darwinian biology. The middle hour was of more interest, and did get into real evolutionary developmental biology, and showed off some of the best examples of work in the field. This was the bit I'd find most useful in my classes; that first half-hour was too basic for most freshman biology majors.
I wasn't too keen on the last bit where it got very human-centric, but I can see where the examples they talked about would provoke viewer interest. I just wish it were possible for the medium to push a little deeper into the topics than they did.
Carroll, Shubin, and Tabin were good. Make them TV stars!
So if you missed it, head on over to the NOVA website and check it out. And if you are taking my classes this spring, you may well see a clip or two in there.



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