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Press release

NATURALLY SELECTED?

A series of free Evolution Week events at the Natural History Museum
Saturday 5 to Saturday 12 February 2005

Webcast live at www.nhm.ac.uk/darwincentre/live

When scientists Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection, nearly 150 years ago, they changed the way we see the world around us forever. Join a week of free events celebrating the discovery that explains the relationship between every organism on the planet, exploring what it means to modern science and building up to Charles Darwin’s birthday celebrations on 12 February.

What is Evolution?
Saturday 5 February, 12.00 and 14.30
Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection changed the world, from medicine and technology to the way we look at the history of life and our origins. Join an exploration of the theory and discover why it’s so much more than just the ‘survival of the fittest’.

Are We Still Evolving?
Sunday 6 February, 12.00 and 14.30
Darwin’s theory paints a picture of a changing world, with species continually mutating, diverging and evolving. But in the modern world, with medical developments from in-vitro fertilisation to long-term care, and a social jungle very different from the ’ancestral environment‘, have we moved beyond evolution? Or is major mutation and speciation still possible? Join an investigation into our possible future – or futures.

Darwin’s Pigeons
Monday 7 February, 14.30
Many people credit ‘Darwin’s finches’, from the Galapagos Islands, as the inspiration behind his theory of natural selection, but they never actually featured in his book On the Origins of Species. Discover why the humble pigeon is the real avian hero of evolution.

Evolution in the Virtual World
Tuesday 8 February, 14.30
Natural selection doesn’t only happen in nature. Discover how computer simulations are helping scientists and designers create better machines and even living organisms and what they may be able to tell us about how life began.

Designer Dogs
Wednesday 9 February, 14.30
Natural selection happens in the wild, but part of Darwin’s inspiration came from the thousands of years humans have been artificially selecting domestic animals. Join Nick Waters of the annual dog show Crufts for an exploration of the hidden and very visible effects human intervention has had on dogs.

Evolution in Action – Modern Birds
Thursday 10 February, 14.30
Evolution is a slow process – part of what made it so hard for Darwin to prove. But is it possible to observe evolution action? Join Oxford professor Ben Sherman to glimpse an instant in evolutionary time.

The Hobbit Man of Indonesia
Friday 11 February, 14.30
The recent discovery of a three-foot-high primate in Indonesia has been hailed as one of the most surprising developments in the study of our species. But what do the findings tell us about us and our history? Join an exploration of the ‘hobbit' and what its discovery means to evolutionists.

Darwin Day
Saturday 12 February, 12.00 to 17.00
Join a fun and informative celebration of Charles Darwin’s birthday. Events include an interactive introduction to Darwin’s theory and a panel discussion on the influence of Darwin’s theory on science and culture. There’ll also be short talks on the recent discovery of the Indonesian 'hobbit' fossils, the 'new synthesis' between science and genetics, and the truth behind the tale of how the leopard got his spots.

Darwin Centre Live in the GlaxoSmithKline Studio at the Natural History Museum is a free programme of informal events where visitors can talk to scientists, hear more about their work at the Museum and around the world and see the fascinating specimens they work with. For further information, please contact the Natural History Museum by calling 020 7942 5000 or visit www.nhm.ac.uk/darwincentre/live.

- Ends -

Visitor information
Dates: Saturday 5 to Saturday 12 February 2005
Admission: free
Venue: Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum,
Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD
Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 5000 Monday–Friday,
020 7942 5011 Saturday and Sunday
Website:   www.nhm.ac.uk/darwincentre/live

CONTACT INFORMATION
For further information, please contact:

Jo Glyde or Chloe Kembery, Science Communication PR
Tel: 020 7942 5880/5881
Email: j.glyde@nhm.ac.uk or c.kembery@nhm.ac.uk

Issued January 2005