Darwin in Beijing

imgp1674Charles Darwin of course never made it to China on his very extensive travels, but inevitably this year, and indeed on this day, he has a presence at the IVPP. I mentioned briefly before about a planned exhibition that has gone through with typical Chinese speed (in the end it was too short notice to include English notes for the admittedly few foreign visitors to the galleries, so I barely did anything for this) and was unveiled this morning.

It’s mostly a series of panels covering Darwin’s life and works and showing how modern evidence (most notably fossils in the IVPP of course) supports the theory of evolution by natural selection. As I say, it’s in Chinese, so few of my readers are likely to get much from it, but I took a couple of quick photos to show off a few of the panels, and especially the nice world map that shows the voyage of the Beagle and key events or finds from the journey. (Sorry about the odd angles of some of the photos it was necessary to avoid the gallery lights reflecting).

Three great protagonists, but probably not as they saw themselves

Three great protagonists, but probably not as they saw themselves

It’s good to see so many museums and institutes using this year as an excuse or motivation to get across some of the inspiring ideas and works of Darwin, and what has followed, plus to dispel a few of the worse and more perpetuated fictions. My only complaint would be that while an opportunity like this is too good to miss, (and certainly more funds and interest would be available than in other years) it is just a shame that something like this is needed to trigger it.

imgp16581While many museums have exhibits or even whole galleries on evolution, many small and even large ones do not even mention it. Surely something this fundamental to a natural history / science museum (and this goes for botanical gardens, aquaria and zoos as well) needs to be featured, and prominently at that? I honestly can’t think of a non-permanent exhibit to Darwin or evolution as a whole that I have ever seen in any museum (though as ever I may have just missed them). Many do have them, great, but for those that don’t, to have to wait for such an anniversary seems a bit silly to say the least.

Still, the work is being done and the word is being spread. For this we must be grateful, and I am certainly pleased that the IVPP are doing their part.

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2 Responses to “Darwin in Beijing”


  1. 1 shishir 13/02/2009 at 1:10 am

    Survival of the fittest.

    well if we go by Darwin we must ask the question whether his theory would survive the times when every one is after one single question http://controversial-affairs.blogspot.com/2009/02/darwin.html


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