This February 10, celebrate Darwin Day in Ottawa in the traditional manner
Commemorate the 204th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth this year with the Centre for Inquiry Ottawa.
From as early as 1972, scientists and academics have celebrated the occasion with what’s known as “Phylum Feasts”: attendees bring foods representative of as many different phyla as can be obtained. It’s entirely in keeping with Darwin’s own dietary proclivities: while at Cambridge University he was a member of the Glutton Club, a group convened to once a week eat animals not typically found in restaurants. This included hawk and bittern, but brown owl was apparently a challenge too far. While on the Beagle he consumed armadillos, agoutis, puma, rhea, iguanas and giant tortoise.
At least one of those is now extinct, thanks, in some small part, to Darwin eating an ancestor or two. However our modern understanding of taxonomy provides plenty of insight in how to assemble a menu that is not at the same time an extinction-level event for rare species.
Here in Ottawa CFI will be hosting their own version, with a biodiversity potluck and a talk on evolution.
For the potluck, we are seeking biodiversity, so let’s see how many different species we can identify in our food. Both storebought and home-made items are welcome – post to the comments if you need suggestions.
There will be a prize for the food item that includes the most species, but the challenge is that you must provide a list of scientific (binomial) names for the ingredients. (Chemistry doesn’t count, so if you are baking, better to use saccharomyces cerevisiae instead of sodium bicarbonate.)
At 7:30, we will present the talk Change Through Time for the Times: Evolution for the Layperson, presented by biology graduate student Alex Gonzalez:
The public imagination of what evolution is often veers from one misconception to the next. Alex will discuss some of these misconceptions, such as “spontaneous evolution” and “irreducible complexity” in order to provide a clearer understanding of what the science actually says about the appearance of the burgeoning variety of life on Earth, and of how evolution plays into the reality of the 21st-century.
Get the details, and RSVP, here.