Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy 200th Birthday

Charles Darwin was born on 12th February 1809, 200 years ago almost to the day. He popularised and promoted the idea of natural selection and evolution, a concept that he wasn't necessarily the first person to think about but certainly the person who brought the idea to a mass audience. And what a negative reaction he recieved back then, and judging by modern standards there is still a lot of controversy about it. The kicker was the concept of humans sharing ancestors with apes, rather than being created through divine means. Regardless of your beliefs, it has to be said that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution has had a profound and lasting impact on society.

That being said, living in the City of Darwin (named after the Beagle landed here and named it after their most famous passenger) gives a certain added significance to Darwin's birthday. All this year there are bicentenary celebrations in Darwin, and they have started with perhaps the best. As a way of illustrating Darwin's theory of evolution, the Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory has opened a new exhibition on Supercrocodilians - essentially, using crocodilians (or crocodyliforms if you want to be pedantic about it) to show how the fossils evidence shows their change over time. It's an excellent exhibit with some absolutely stunning croc skulls and taxidermy mounts. I was at the opening yesterday, but I spent so much time talking with various people that I didn't get chance to absorb it all properly.

So, armed with a camera, I will return! And I will post some of pictures of grinning croc skulls here for your edification and enjoyment.