Darwin & Yellowstone


Historian Paul Schullery‘s talk at a November 2009 science agenda workshop in Yellowstone National Park focused on climate change, land use change, and invasive species. As I scrolled through the PDF of the talk transcript online (in the latest issue of Yellowstone Science, where I published a piece on religious language and YNP in 2008), to my surprise I saw an image of Darwin. Here’s where Schullery relates Darwin to Yellowstone history:

Those of you who saw Ken Burns’ big film on the national parks in September must have noticed the unusual extent to which scientists were even cast as heroes. My own favorite example of such scientific advocacy made it into the film. It was National Park Service biologist George Melendez Wright’s eloquent recommendation, in 1933, “that the rare predators shall be considered special charges of the national parks in proportion that they are persecuted everywhere else.” And only a few years later, Aldo Leopold himself recommended the restoration of wolves to Yellowstone. Anyone who knows much about the history of land management in the American West will agree that science, at least wildlife science, has rarely gotten more socially subversive than these statements by Wright and Leopold.

But rather than quoting a bunch more historic scientists, I think you only need to hear from one—one that you may have never heard of, a geologist named Theodore Comstock. Comstock visited and studied the park at its beginning, in 1873, with the Jones Expedition, and published several foresightful papers that reached far beyond his specialty. We ought to name a mountain or a microbrewery or something for this guy.

Remember that Comstock worked and wrote in the fierce propwash of the Darwinian revolution. We can barely imagine the mood of his times. The publication of both On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man were current events to him, and his awareness of their sudden impact on science and society is reflected in this plea for the preservation of Yellowstone’s authentic wildness—a plea so modern that one of us might say it at this meeting.

Momentous questions are now agitating the scientific world, calling for experiment and observation which are daily becoming less possible, owing in a great measure to the obliterating influence of modern civilization. Thus it would almost seem that the present difficulties in the way of the solution of many questions, bearing upon the process of natural selection, will soon become insurmountable if some means are not employed to render more practicable the study of animals in a state of nature.

Of course Yellowstone provided those means, and Comstock, perhaps more fully than Hayden or any of the other early scientific pioneers of the region, articulated the case for the park as an unparallelled and perpetual opportunity to learn about wild nature.

Too bad I hadn’t come across this connection while I was an intern there. You can read the rest of Schullery’s talk here, and why not peruse more of Yellowstone Science (index), it’s freely accessible!

My First Publication: An article about Yellowstone National Park

The paper I wrote as part of my history internship in Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 2007 has been published in shorter form, with some of my own photographs, in Yellowstone Science:

Barton, Michael D. “Between Heaven and Hell’: Religious Language in Early Descriptions of Yellowstone National Park.” Yellowstone Science 16:3 (2008): 16-23.

Viewable as a PDF here. Thanks for the plug, Richard!

Today in Science History

From Today in Science History:

Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden (Born 7 Sep 1829; died 22 Dec 1887). American geologist who was a pioneer investigator of the western United States. Just out of medical school in 1853, he turned to paleontology under James Hall, who sent him west to collect fossils in the Badlands and the Upper Missouri Valley. It is generally accepted that the first discovery of dinosaur remains made in North America was in 1854, by Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden during his exploration of the upper Missouri River. After serving as a surgeon in the Civil War, Hayden continued his western explorations. His explorations and geologic studies of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains helped lay the foundation of the U.S. Geological Survey. Hayden is credited with having the Yellowstone geyser area declared the first national park (1872).

Comte Georges-Louis de Buffon (Born 7 Sep 1707; died 16 Apr 1788). Buffon was a French naturalist, who formulated a crude theory of evolution and was the first to suggest that the earth might be older than suggested by the Bible. In 1739 he was appointed keeper of the Jardin du Roi, a post he occupied until his death. There he worked on a comprehensive work on natural history, for which he is remembered, Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière. He began this work in 1749, and it dominated the rest of his life. It would eventually run to 44 volumes, including quadrupeds, birds, reptiles and minerals. He proposed (1778) that the Earth was hot at its creation and, from the rate of cooling, calculated its age to be 75,000 years, with life emerging some 40,000 years ago.

Jan Ingenhousz (Died 7 Sep 1799 (born 8 Dec 1730) Dutch-born British physician and scientist who discovered photosynthesis by identifying that sunlight gave green plants the ability to take in carbon dioxide, fix the carbon, and purified the air (returned oxygen) to the benefit of respiration of animals. Earlier, as a physician, he promoted Edward Jenner’s use of inoculation with live smallpox vaccine to induce protection against the disease. Ingenhousz was a diligent experimenter, who studied soils and plant nutrition. He introduced the use of cover slips on microscope slides. He improved phosphorus matches and an apparatus for generating static electricity; investigated Brownian motion and heat conduction in metals, invented a hydrogen-fueled lighter, and mixed an explosive propellant for firing pistols

Today in Science History

From Today in Science History:

Sir William Jackson Hooker (Born 6 July 1785; died 12 Aug 1865). English botanist who was the first director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, near London. He greatly advanced the knowledge of ferns, algae, lichens, and fungi, as well as of higher plants. [Father to botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker]

Alexander Wilson (Born 6 July 1766; died 23 Aug 1813). Scottish-born ornithologist and poet who left his homeland in 1794, aged 27, in search of a better life in America. Naturalist William Bartram sparked his interest in birds. By 1802, Wilson had resolved to author a book illustrating every North American bird. He travelled extensively to make paintings of the birds he observed. This pioneering work on North American birds grew to nine volumes of American Ornithology, published between 1808 and 1814, with illustrations of 268 species, of which 26 were new. As a founder of American ornithology he became one of the leading naturalists who also made the first census of breeding birds, corrected errors of taxonomy, and may have inspired Audubon’s later work when they met in 1810.

Joseph LeConte (Died 6 July 1901; born 26 Feb 1823). American geologist who was a universalist in the scope of his scientific writings. As a founding member of John Muir’s Sierra Club, he spoke fervently for broad preservation of California forests by government and wise use of timberlands in private enterprise. He was one of the earliest advocates of contractional theory of mountain formation. LeConte accepted the theory of evolution about 1874, becoming one of its leading proponents and a writer able to reconcile the idea with religious thought. His Sight: An Exposition of the Principles of Monocular and Binocular Vision (1881) was the first treatise on physiological optics written in the U.S. He was an ardent camper, and his death occurred during a trip in the Yosemite Valley.

Yellowstone Photos

I spent Sunday, Father’s Day, driving around Yellowstone National Park (we spent Saturday together as a family, with a wonderful finger painting & poem from my son), looking for and taking pictures of features/locations mentioned in my paper that is going into the publication Yellowstone Science this summer. Pictures here. I was happy to see many areas I hadn’t visited before.

Research Help

I have the following snippet from a May 1, 1872 newspaper in Janesville, Wisconsin (The Janesville Gazette):

The World says: “The time was when baptism was the thing most needed to make a person respectable. Now the one indispensable is a trip.”…Now it is the Yellowstone, the Yosemite, or Europe, Paris, Venice, Florence, Naples or Rome. As facilities for rapid traveling increase, the Mecca will be transferred further east, west or north. Presently, we suppose, nothing short of a visit to Alaska, the Nile or Japan, will justify the hope of a seat in the kingdom of heaven.

I need to find out which newspaper “The World” is. All I can find online with that title is a Fort Wayne, Indiana newspaper, but it seems that it doesn’t go back that far… Any ideas?

Died This Day: Ferdinand V. Hayden, geologist

From Today in Science History:

Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden (Died 22 Dec 1887; born 7 Sep 1829). American geologist and explorer of the U.S. West. After finishing a medical school training (1853), his early career began in paleontology for James Hall, collecting fossils in the Badlands and the Upper Missouri Valley. It is believed he made the first North American discovery of dinosaur remains (1854) during this expedition. During the Civil War, he served as a surgeon in the Civil War, after which he resumed his western explorations. His work in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains helped lay the foundation of the U.S. Geological Survey. Hayden is credited with having the Yellowstone geyser area declared the first national park (1872). He hosted the Western botanical journey of Gray and Hooker in 1877.

[Photograph: J.D. Hooker, Asa Gray, and Hayden at La Veta Pass, CO in 1877]

A Day at the Museum of the Rockies

Pictures of what is discussed here are here.

Several interesting things at the Museum of the Rockies. This is, of course, is where my museum practices class this semester meets. Yesterday, I finished putting together my class project (see this post), a case about prominent Montanans Wellington D. Rankin and Jeannette Rankin and a few related artifacts that I found in a book once owned by Wellington (which happened to be an 1890 edition of Darwin’s The Descent of Man). The case is complete and, with assistance from the exhibits department, it is mounted on the wall. Other students are still in different stages of putting together their exhibits, but they should all be up within 2 weeks, and the museum will have a small reception to open the student exhibit gallery (there will be local media coverage as well). This class finished my requirements for a museum studies minor, to accompany my bachelor’s in history (of science) I will have in December.

The museum has also modified its permanent exhibit, Landforms and Lifeforms, taking away some displays about rock identification, and adding Earliest Life: A Microbial World, a display about bacteria, life in Yellowstone thermal springs, and life on Mars. By coincidence (maybe not), Montana State University (where the Museum of the Rockies is located) will be adding a new center to te campus. From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

The third new center will be called the Astrobiology and Biogeocatalysis Research Center, a name that Gamble joked he was practicing pronouncing. It is made possible by a $6 million, five-year grant from NASA. Gamble said he’d received a call from NASA, inviting MSU to join its Astrobiology Institute, which is made up of 16 centers nationwide, including those at Berkeley, MIT and Caltech. NASA is studying the origins of life on Earth and the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. MSU’s center will be directed by John Peters, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and director of the Thermal Biology Institute, which researches bacteria and viruses that thrive in the heated acid environment of Yellowstone National Park’s hot pots.

Also at the Museum of the Rockies is a photography exhibit, Ansel Adams: The Man Who Captured the Earth’s Beauty. Steve Jackson, curator of photography, gave a nice lecture on Adams’ life and work. Also from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

Ansel Adams was only 14 years old in 1916, when he convinced his family to vacation in Yosemite National Park and started taking photographs with a camera given to him by his parents. Adams returned to Yosemite every year for the rest of his long life. He would become a giant among American photographers and use his stunning images to persuade presidents and the public to preserve some of the nation’s beautiful wild places. Twenty-five of Adams’ black-and-white photographs, including many of his “greatest hits,” are on display now at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman. “Ansel Adams: The Man Who Captured the Earth’s Beauty” is upstairs in the Loft Gallery. It will be on exhibit through Jan. 6, giving families a chance over the holiday season to see the famous photographs. “Why people love his images is principally because Adams and … others from the period really championed beauty,” said Steve Jackson, the museum’s curator of art and photography. Adams’ vision is of nature that dwarfs human scale, Jackson said. He takes the viewer to places that are wild, sometimes dangerous and always beautiful. “His love of being in the landscape is evident in the images,” Jackson said. Adams was born in San Francisco in 1902. He survived the 1906 earthquake, but when a tremor threw him against a wall, suffered a broken nose. Young Ansel hated the regimentation of school, so his parents got him tutors. He taught himself piano, and for many years considered a career as a concert pianist. It was seeing the crisp negatives of photographer Paul Strand that convinced him of the artistic possibilities of photography. Adams was part of the modernist movement that rejected romantic, soft-focus pictures in favor of a pure, strict, straightforward approach. He was a cofounder of the Group f.64, which took its name from the tiny camera aperture that allows crisp focus of everything from the nearest pebble to the farthest mountain peak. Jackson hung the photos in chronological order, starting with Adams’ first masterpiece, “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome,” shot in 1927. One reason that photo is so dramatic, Jackson explained, is that Adams used a red filter to make the sky look almost black. It was the first time Adams used his “visualization” technique, imagining what he wanted the photo to look like and feel like before taking it. Adams once wrote that he found he could make “an austere and blazing poetry of the real.” Perhaps Adams’ most famous photo is “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” from 1941, shot as the light glinted off cemetery crosses at an old adobe village beneath dramatic mountains and a rising moon. His photograph “The Tetons and Snake River” is classic, capturing the famous snowy peaks as sunlight breaks through storm clouds and shines on the great S curve of the river. Thousands of similar shots of the Tetons have been taken since Adams’ 1942 photo, but his was “the original, the touchstone,” Jackson said. Adams, who came from a liberal family, was appalled during World War II by the incarceration of Japanese Americans in internment camps, long before most Americans came to see it as a shameful mistake. He documented the camp in Manzanar, Calif., and published “Born Free and Equal” in 1944. A member of the Sierra Club board of directors for 37 years, Adams lobbied Congress to create the Kings Canyon National Park, and his photos helped persuade President Franklin Roosevelt to support it. Adams discussed conservation with presidents Ford, Reagan and Carter, who in 1980 awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. After his death in 1984, Congress created the Ansel Adams Wilderness Area near Yosemite. The following year, an 11,760-foot peak in the Sierras was named Mount Ansel Adams. “He had a great sense of humor, he was a wonderful teacher, but he was one of the most humble people,” Jackson said. “He had a reputation that was larger than life, but even late in his life, you could still take a class and he was a teacher. “Ansel Adams was a national treasure by the time he died.”

Also, note that paleontologist Jack Horner has a blog, but for some reason there is not a working RSS feed.

CALL FOR VIDEOS: For Ken Burns’ National Parks Series

Filmmaker Ken Burns, who recently brought us The War, is seeking home movies of family and tourist visits to the major national parks (Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Acadia, and Great Smoky Mountains) from the 1920s through the 1980s for a series on the National Parks for PBS in 2009. More information here and here, including what those whose submissions are used in the documentary will receive.

Yellowstone Internship Ends

Alas, my days at the Heritage and Research Center for Yellowstone National Park are over! The time felt much more than 8 weeks, considering I drove to and from 80 miles a minimum of 3 days a week. One week off, and fall (& last semester as an undergrad) starts on August 27th. The paper I did for the internship, ” ‘Between Heaven and Hell’: Religious Language in Early Descriptions of Yellowstone National Park,” is currently in the hands of park historian Lee Whittlesey, who has already asked that I provide a copy after editing it for the Yellowstone Reasearch Library – it’ll go in the vertical files. He has also suggested that we try to get it published in Yellowstone Science. Possibly a first publication? I say let’s go for it….

UPDATE (1/28/08): I received notice from the editor of Yellowstone Science that they will put my paper in their publication, but I have to make it shorter… some great news… oh, to be published!

Creationism in Yellowstone National Park (1974)

When looking for writings about Yellowstone National Park from the 1870s that contained religious language (for a paper), I came across a 1974 issue of Five Minutes with the Bible & Science, which provided daily readings. All of its 1974 issues dealt with geology tours (Hawaii, dinosaur areas, Grand Canyon, Mt. Ararat, and Glacier National Park). This last issue of the geology series is titled “Yellowstone National Park and the Bible.” I did not think I would come across much about Darwin in researching Yellowstone, but this magazine provided just that in a daily reading about cone geysers:

As we enjoy the varied scenery of Yellowstone Park, we are reminded of the Psalmist’s statement that the wisdom of God is manifold (Ps. 104:24). To attribute all this beauty to the automatic forces of time and chance is to detract from God’s glory. One of the main purposes of our Bible-Science Association sponsored geology tours, and one of the main purposes in publishing this magazine, is to glorify God. The Lord expects us to serve Him with our whole heart, soul, and mind. Benjamin Farrington is author of a book What Darwin Really Said in which he concurs with Darwin’s attempts to overthrow the dominance of Christianity on science. The theory of evolution leads people from God and the Bible and leads them to credit the forces of time, chance and the environment wiht powers which they do not possess.

The geysers all teach that there is decay in nature; some are wearing out and some are dying. All follow the universal law of degeneration which is the penalty of human sin. God in His gracious mercy, sent His Son into our world to redeem it by giving His sinless life in payment for the sins of the world.

So, whenever you see a geyser in Yellowstone National Park, like Old Faithful below, the Bible-Science Association thinks it should remind you of “the penalty of human sin,” and not just a unique geological event.

Favorite Wellcome Images

Now that this internship week is over, I can offer my favorites. I have no particular interest in rotifers, but I thought this image from the Wellcome Image collection was strikingly similar to a prehistoric creature, an ichthyosaur.

I also like this image of a painting of the Great Blue Spring of the Lower Geyser basin, Yellowstone National Park (1876).

And this portrait of Joseph Dalton Hooker.

I haven’t figured out why multiple images are coming out like this for me!

Mega-Post: Post-Second Week of Internship

This week at the Heritage and Research Center (info on the place 1, 2), I continued to search for newspaper accounts of visits to Yellowstone, and went on a short hike to Bunsen Peak and later checked out Norris Geyser Basin (pictures of Mammoth Hot Springs from last week and the Bunsen Peak hike are here). It is interesting to read people’s impressions of the place, be it that Yellowstone shows the beautiful work of God or the thermal regions act as the gateway to Satan’s Sanctum. Some interesting quotes:

“Nature generally knows her own business, and she has good motive in everything she does, altho’ we, her near sighted children, may not be able to see through her designs at once.”
-Calvin C. Clawson (1871) on why visitors should not try to understand how and why geysers work (see “A Ride to the Infernal Regions” here)

“In scientific research Humboldt circumnavigated the globe to witness natural phenomena far surpassed today in Montana, within an area of a few square miles.”
-Helena Herald (1871)

If anyone is interested in the exploration of the Yellowstone region and its establishment as a national park, this is a valuable resource.

And on with Darwin!!!

July 5th: Ernst Mayr born in 1904; Robert Fitzroy born in 1805 (Peter missed this one!)
July 6th: Sir William Jackson Hooker (father to Joseph Dalton) born in 1785

Coffee at the feet of a giant at The Beagle Project Blog (Darwin, Huxley & Owen statues at London’s Natural History Museum)
USA Today: Darwin’s defense of missionaries (see commentary on the Journal of Religious History paper [abstract, let me know if you want to see the paper] discussed by Cary McMullen, Mondito, and Red State Rabble)
Was Lyell’s “project simply the worldview of naturalism”? at Literature: A discussion of ID-related Reading
British Journal for the History of Science: [forthcoming article] From the Curse of Ham to the curse of nature: the influence of natural selection on the debate on human unity before the publication of The Descent of Man
University of Bath: How has Darwin changed the way we think about society?
Bromley Times: Pupils go back in time to help heritage bid (Down House)

Mike the Mad Biologist on The Macroevolution ‘Controversy’
Evolution Education at evolgen
Mano Singham’s Web Journal‘s sixth post in a series on evolution: The probabilities of natural selection
Scientific American: We are African apes, cousins of monkeys, descended from fish

“Who Designed the Designer?” at Red State Rabble
Evolution News & Views: John West’s Forthcoming Book: Darwin Day in America (thoughts at Sandwalk)

educate/innovate on an exhibit called Bye-bye blackboard… from Einstein and others

Who’s a pretty scientist? at The World’s Fair (portraits of scientists)
History Now: Exploration
HSS Graduate and Early Career Caucus, a blog for graduate students in the history of science, medicine and technology
a roundup of resources for ‘emerging professionals,’ ‘young professionals,’ ‘early career historians’ at Public Historian
recent history of science doctoral dissertations

Mega-Post: Post-First Week of Internship

I finished my first week of internship at Yellowstone National Park‘s Heritage and Research Center in Gardiner, Montana. YNP historian Lee Whittlesey, who I am working with, has given me the following tasks. First, I am searching an online newspaper archive for articles which contain information about people’s visits to the park, dating between 1870-1890. Previous interns have done this before, but the website is always adding new material, so I am looking for stuff that past interns haven’t printed out and added to the big stack. Actually, my first task was to put all the stacks of articles from years before in chronological order. Took me about 2 days to do that. Second, I am to read through several books of accounts of visits to parks, for example Nathaniel P. Langford‘s The Discovery of Yellowstone Park, and note any references to Indian trails. I enjoy reading these accounts, but I have only read two (1, 2) so far. And third, I am to do a 10-15 page paper on a Yellowstone topic of my choosing, and advice was given to me that choosing a topic in which the information can be found while doing my other tasks would be smart. I have chosen to look at the use of religious nomenclature in early descriptions of the park, especially the use of infernal language, such as descriptions of Yellowstone as Hell, or the naming of geological features as Devil’s Slide, Devil’s Den, etc.

That said, I have decided to disperse a mega-post of information and links for the previous week. As you will see below, it is split up by broad topics for the ease of the reader to find what he/she would be more interested in reading. Sorry about the inconsistency in spacing, but I can’t seem to fix it right now…


Lord Kelvin was born: Lord Kelvin (June 26, 1824-Dec. 17, 1907) Born as William Thomson, he became an influential physicist, mathematician and engineer who has been described as a Newton of his era. At Glasgow University, Scotland, he was a professor for over half a century. The name he made for himself was more than just a temperature scale. His activities ranged from being the brains behind the laying of a transatlantic telephone cable, to attempting to calculate the age of the earth from its rate of cooling. In 1892, when raised to the peerage as Baron Kelvin of Largs, he had chosen the name from the Kelvin River, near Glasgow.

Gilbert White died: Gilbert White (July 18, 1720-June 26, 1795) English cleric and pioneering naturalist, known as the “father of English natural history.” Over the course of 20 years of his observations and two colleagues’ letters, he studied a wide range of flora and fauna seen around his hometown of Selborne, Hampshire. In 1789, he published this studious work. His book The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne contained observations of nature drawn from life. The book has been in print continuously since 1789, and is the fourth most published book in the English language.

June 29th: Thomas Henry Huxley died: see this post about Huxley

June 30th:

Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker was born: Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (June 30, 1817-Dec. 10, 1911) English botanist who was assistant on Sir James Ross’s Antarctic expedition and whose botanical travels to foreign lands included India, Palestine and the U.S., from which he became a leading taxonomists in his time. His Student’s Flora of the British Islands became a standard text. He was a great friend of Charles Darwin, and they collaborated in research. With Sir [Charles] Lyell, Hooker encouraged the publication of Darwin’s theory of evolution. He served (1855-65) as assistant director to his father, Sir William Jackson Hooker, of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, whom he succeeded as director for another 20 years. He was also a president of the Royal Society. At age 94, he died in his sleep and was buried at Kew.

July 1st:

C.P. Snow died: C.P. Snow (October 15, 1905 -July 1, 1980) Baron C(harles) P(ercy) Snow was a British former physicist, turned novelist and government administrator. In 1959, C.P. Snow gave a controversial lecture called The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution claiming there were two cultures – the literary intellectuals and the scientists, who didn’t understand each other and didn’t trust each other. The split was not new; Snow noted that in the 1930s, literary theorists had begun to use the word “intellectual” to refer only to themselves. He illustrated this gap by asking a group of literary intellectuals to tell him about the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which he called the scientific equivalent of ‘Have you read a work of Shakespeare?'” Since then, debate about this polarization has continued. [Richard Carter of The Red Notebook discusses Snow in a recent post.]


Afarensis: Darwin Speaks Out Against the Cruelty of Steel Jawed Traps and Darwin on Self and Cross Fertilization

The Beagle Project Blog: John Murray was Charles Darwin’s publisher, Beagle plankton sampling, and 26 June 1832: Beagle gets bigger teeth

Thoughts in a Haystack reviews Janet Browne’s “bibliobiography” of On the Origin of Species
Down House proposal withdrawn at Pharyngula

Pioneering Galapagos Trip for Cambridge Geologists at physorg.com (“Specimens, collected on the trip, will be used by Andrew for an undergraduate research project before being exhibited at the Sedgwick Museum as part of a new exhibition “Charles Darwin the Geologist,” to be opened in 2009.”)

Darwin’s Intuition (Logical/Historical) at Web Log of Dr. Tom O’Connell

Flowers, Moths, and History of Science at The Austringer

Can Biology Textbooks Recover from Over-Praising Darwin? at Evolution News & Views


Evolution in The New York Times: these posts are a good starting point, and on those blogs can be found much more detailed commentary: NCSE, A Blog Around the Clock, Pharyngula, and EvolutionBlog (also check out Red State Rabble and Darwiniana for posts about specific articles)

A 5th post on evolution at Mano Singham’s Web Journal (parts 1-4 are linked in the 5th post)

Blue Cat Blog has two posts about evolution


Richard Dawkins reviews The Edge of Evolution for The New York Times
Parts V and VI of Darwin Central‘s “A Look at Creation ‘Science'” (links to parts I-IV here)

Beyond these, the links to posts on creationism and intelligent design are very numerous. I would suggest checking out these blogs for this topic in the last week: Darwiniana, EvolutionBlog, Pharyngula, and Red State Rabble for the evolution side, and Evolution News & Views and Uncommon Descent for the creationism/ID side.


Mike the Mad Biologist discusses How Museums Teach Evolution…

Things that are pretty: London’s Natural History Museum at The World’s Fair

Napolean’s Toothbrush at Greg Laden (about the Wellcome Collection)

Edinburgh Evening News: Archive collection turns back pages of history (John Murray archive)


Newton’s Secret at ThinkingShift

Walking With Triceratops at Laelaps (some paleo history)

Walcott vs. the Cambrian, Dawkins vs. Gould vs. Fortey at The Voltage Gate (some more paleo history)

Wikipedia’s History of Science entry at Liberals in Exile

Glacier National Park Photos

I had never been to Glacier National Park in northern Montana before, and really enjoyed the time away from the normal routine of life. The park is absolutely beautiful… if you’ve never been, add it to your “to travel to” list. The Going to the Sun Road was only open to Logan Pass area, and it rained alot, especially on our short hike to Avalanche Lake. Late summer would be better for next time, but then comes the problem of more visitors. Anyways, it was a great weekend trip!

GNP Pictures
Family Pictures in GNP (includes pics from a b&b south of Glacier)

Heritage and Research Center, Yellowstone National Park

For 8 weeks this summer, I will be an intern at the Heritage and Research Center in Gardiner, MT, the storage facility for Yellowstone National Park‘s library, archives and collections. The building is also affiliate of the National Archives, containing more than 5.3 million items related to Yellowstone or national parks in general. I will assist the park’s official historian, Lee Whittlesey, with “research efforts to construct individual histories of major park developed areas. This involves reading the classic and the obscure accounts of journeys to Yellowstone (1870-1916) and making extensive notes on them.” I am looking forward to the opportunity and experience, and with my wife’s regional library group, I visited the facility today for a tour. More pictures can be viewed here.

Darwin/Science Links for Weekend Reading

More on Darwin’s correspondence at Core77 Design Blog and The Stanford Daily.

Some other posts/links I found interesting:

New Life for Systematics at Science Magazine
Endangered Species Protection Sought for Bigfoot at LiveScience
Rachel Carson’s centennial at WildBird on the Fly
Archaea of Yellowstone Park at Science Notes