Dispersal Event 3/9/2008

Working on something in the history of geological sciences? From the H-SCI-MED-TECH listserve:

I wish to organize a panel of Grad students, young scholars andestablished faculty for the upcoming HSS meeting (Pittsburgh) on the history of the earth sciences. My work focuses on evolutionary theory and paleobotany, and the paper I plan to present examines the role of paleobotany in the development of theModern Synthesis. Dr. Debra Lindsay (UNB) has agreed to be a part of thesession, and therefore I am looking for graduate student participation. Any papers that focus on the history of the earth sciences and/orconnections to evolution are welcome! Please contact me off list at mailto:atddigrius@drew.edu. Dawn M. Digrius, Ph.D.

A review of The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire by Joe Jackson from the Los Angeles Times:

Jackson gives us an excellent portrait of Joseph Dalton Hooker, director of the Kew gardens, a walking encyclopedia of botany and in some ways the scheming mastermind of this story. Hooker, a prickly, arrogant and duplicitous man, raged against tourists who came stomping around his gardens; he saw Kew as a scientific research and development factory designed to aid Britain’s vast colonial plantations by shuffling plants around the world when opportunities presented themselves.

The October 2007 issue of Archives of Natural History is available online here. It includes these two articles concerning Darwin:

“Charles Darwin, ‘little Dawkins’ and the platycnemic Yale men: introducing a bioarchaeological tale of the descent of man” (PDF) by Peter Lucas: A small box of animal bones, forwarded by Charles Darwin from North Wales, led to excavations by William Boyd Dawkins in Denbighshire between 1869 and 1872 and in Flintshire in 1886. Neglected riches of the archival record allow glimpses of Darwin and his family and contribute to this first narrative account of a pioneering episode in prehistoric archaeology which resulted in the three most important discoveries of Neolithic human remains in North Wales (and their later apparently near total disappearance). Many of the leg bones had features of the flattening of tibia (platycnemia) and femur (platymeria) first noted by George Busk in Neolithic bones from Gibraltar in 1863, and by Paul Broca at Cro-Magnon in 1868. Within a few years flattened leg bones were recognised across the globe, subsequently in samples extending back to the Middle Palaeolithic and forward to modern hunter-gatherers; platymeric shafts have been found at early hominin sites. Busk’s platycnemic index and understanding of flattening as related to muscular activity anticipate the work of modern bioarchaeologists. Dawkins was recipient of a much quoted account of the Huxley-Wilberforce confrontation at Oxford and opponent of Darwin’s views on human origins: his work opens up instructive perspectives.

“Fritz Müller’s first copy of Darwin’s Origin rediscovered” (PDF) by David A. West (short note, no abstract)

The Brooklyn Rail: review of the play Man-Made
The Morning Call: [letter] Darwin birthday is nothing to celebrate
The Red Notebook: Plinth Charming (about a petition for a Darwin statue & Brit citizenship)

[Picture of Darwin by David Levine (The New York Review of Books) can be found in Stephen Jay Gould’s An Urchin in the Storm (New York: W.W. Norton, 1987), p. 146. Even better, there is a gallery of Levine’s illustrations online, and it includes 2 more Darwin caricatures and more scientists]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s