Page last updated at 12:40 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009
Darwin's Galapagos



This year marks the bicentenary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, which laid out his theory of evolution.

Four scientists from Cambridge University, where Darwin was a student, explain how his ideas continue to influence their work.


The astrophysicist

Could life be evolving on another planet?

Lord Martin Rees is a Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge.

He asks if Darwinian evolution is unique to our planet - or if it may have led to other wonderful biospheres across the Universe.

The anthropologist

'Nothing about biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution'

Professor Robert Foley is an evolutionary anthropologist.

He believes that Darwin matters almost more today than at the time when On the Origin of Species was published.

Professor Foley says that Darwin was critical in helping to answer the question: why are humans the way they are?

The immunologist

Host-pathogen interactions were described in Darwin's vision of evolution

Professor Jim Kaufman is an evolutionary immunologist.

He explains how the evolutionary arms race between pathogen and host - an idea described by Darwin - is very much evident today.

From the influenza A virus, to HIV/AIDS and avian flu, the battle continues, he explains.

The neuroscientist

Evolution can explain how mammalian babies control their own destiny. Filming permission: King's College Cambridge

Professor Barry Keverne is a behavioural neuroscientist.

Maternal care is a unique characteristic in mammals, and Professor Keverene takes a Darwinian approach in trying to understand this, examining the selection pressures and mechanisms that could have brought this about.

He explains how two genomes, both foetal and maternal, have co-adapted in one individual - the mother.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
At home with Darwin... 200 years on
09 Feb 09 |  Science & Environment
Darwin's twin track: 'Evolution and emancipation'
29 Jan 09 |  Science & Environment
UK launches Darwin heritage bid
30 Jan 09 |  London
Darwin's specimens go on display
07 Nov 08 |  Science & Environment
Galapagos put on UN danger list
26 Jun 07 |  Americas
Darwin's finches at risk
08 Nov 02 |  Science/Nature

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific