Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Endless Forms Most Beautiful

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has produced a wonderful short film about Caribbean Anolis lizards, which elegantly illustrates the principles of micro- and macroevolution.  Watch it here:

No one who explores the biodiversity of Caribbean islands can help but marvel at the myriad anoles - stout, slender, long, and short - scurrying through leaf litter and performing arboreal acrobatics to catch insects, find mates, chase off competitors, and evade predators.  The film, Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree, features the research of Professors Jonathan Losos (Harvard University Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology) and Sean Carroll (University of Wisconsin Laboratory of Cell and Molecular Biology), and portrays Caribbean anoles to be poster children for Charles Darwin's poetic description of evolution by natural selection in On The Origin of Species (page 490 in the First Edition):
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.