Museum of Natural Sciences celebrates Darwin Day, February 13

For immediate release ‐ February 03, 2016

Contact: Jon Pishney, 919.707.8083. Images available upon request

RALEIGH — Learn about famed naturalist Charles Darwin, take a closer look at his theories and their impact on modern science, and meet some of the scientists who are continuing his work when the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences hosts Darwin Day on Saturday, February 13, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free; donations welcome.

This year’s keynote address comes from Bill Mesler, a DC-area journalist, and Dr. H. James Cleaves II, an organic geochemist from the Earth-Life Science Institute in Tokyo. The duo recently co-wrote a fascinating book on the history of origin-of-life hypotheses and will be giving a presentation titled “A Warm Little Pond: Darwin and the Origin of Life,” in which they will examine Darwin’s ideas on the subject and compare them to our modern origin-of-life theories. [SECU Daily Planet Theater, 1 p.m.]

Other presenters include Dr. Adrian Smith, Head of the Museum’s Evolutionary Biology Research Lab, who will discuss Darwin’s ideas on the evolution of social insects (think ants), and NC State University graduate student and Global Change Fellow Rene Valdez, who will be talking about the evolution of island naïveté (tameness) and how this led to rat removal in the Galapagos.

Visitors can also browse displays and chat with exhibitors about a range of evolutionary topics, including Insect Diversity, courtesy of the NC Entomological Society and featuring colorful live insects from blue death-feigning beetles to Chilean rose-hair tarantulas. Or learn more than you ever wanted to know about Mosquito Love, with Museum educator Bob Alderink in the Natural World Investigate Lab. At Fish Face Frenzy kids can build and color their own fish as they learn what the shape of fish jaws and faces say about what they eat and where they live.

Darwin Day is supported by an anonymous donor. Windows on the World presentations are sponsored by Syngenta.

[More info at]

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (11 W. Jones St. and 121 W. Jones St.) in downtown Raleigh is an active research institution that engages visitors of every age and stage of learning in the wonders of science and the natural world, drawing them into the intriguing fields of study that are critical to the future of North Carolina. Hours: Mon.- Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sun., noon-5 p.m. Visit the Museum online at Emlyn Koster, PhD, Museum Director; Susan Kluttz, Secretary, N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; Pat McCrory, Governor.

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development. NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit

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