Programs & Events

Darwin Day 2014

Program Number: 
Program Type: 
Feb. 15, 2014 | Saturday, 9:00am
Multiple Times: 
Location: Museum of Natural Sciences

Spend a day learning about Darwin and what his theories of natural selection have done for the world of science, research and education. Meet some of the scientists who are continuing his work, and learn how Darwin's theories are being applied in cutting-edge research. In addition to hands-on science-education stations, there will be crafts and games for all ages. And science historian Paul Brinkman, currently working on his mutton-chops, will be roaming the Museum dressed as Darwin, sharing his knowledge of the famed naturalist.



Sexual Selection 101: Issues of Males and Females

Jason R. Cryan, PhD, Deputy Museum Director, Research & Collections
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
All ages

Biological evolution is not always 'one size fits all'.  Males and females of a single species are commonly faced with different pressures, leading to sex-specific adaptation and evolution.  In this presentation, we will explore the basics of sexual selection from both the male and female perspectives.


Binturongs and Servals: Cool Critters with Amazing Adaptations at the Conservators’ Center

Megan McGrath, Programs Supervisor & Animal Keeper
Conservators’ Center
All ages

Learn about the gorgeous and exotic animals at the Conservators’ Center and understand their role in the ecosystem.


"Send me a sign!": Visual Communication in Wild Baboons

Courtney Fitzpatrick, PhD
National Evolutionary Synthesis Center
All ages

How do animals communicate with each other? This talk will present some of the visual signals that female primates send and discuss the information that scientists think is coded within them.


Special Lecture: Birds of Paradise: Extreme, Bizarre, Extraordinary - CANCELED due to weather

Edwin Scholes
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
All ages

Birds-of-paradise perform elaborate dances to attract mates with their colorful, showy feathers. Ornithologist and Birds of Paradise exhibit co-creator Ed Scholes spent eight years searching for all 39 species of birds-of-paradise in New Guinea with National Geographic photographer Tim Laman. His talk will take us deep into New Guinea to visit these astonishing avian creatures and learn about the role sexual selection played in their evolution.


Penguin Evolution: Fossils, Flippers, and Feathers

Dr. Daniel Ksepka
National Evolutionary Synthesis Center
All ages


Darwin after The Origin: Orchids, Butterflies and Peacocks

Dr. William Kimler, Associate Professor of History
North Carolina State University
Ages 12 and older

Darwin created the study of evolution with "The Origin of Species". Like all great discoveries, this was a beginning, not the end. Learn how Darwin and his successors used colorful wonders of nature to show how evolution works.


Evolution Flash Talks

Students & scientists from the Department of Biological Sciences, NC State
Ages 8 and older

We'll go beyond Darwin's finches and wow you with a series of short stories of evolution elsewhere in the animal kingdom. Learn about trap-jaw ants, and African and Caribbean fishes!


  • Exploring Adaptation and Natural Selection — National Evolutionary Synthesis Center
  • Plant Biology for Kids — NCSU
  • Insect Diversity — North Carolina Entomological Society
  • Join the Caterpillar Experiment — Kingsolver Lab, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Bacteria, Viruses, and Evolution — UNC-Chapel Hill
  • The Evidence for Evolution — St. Mary's School
  • Darwin and Earthworms — NCSU
  • The Human and Primate Family Tree — NC Museum of Natural Sciences
  • Darwin's Fossils — NC Museum of Natural Sciences
  • NCSU Bone Detectives — NCSU Anthropology graduate students
  • Cactus Diversity — Extension Master Gardeners of Wake County
  • Sammy the Serval — Conservators' Center
  • Triangle Orchid Society  
  • Pear Pressure: A Natural Selection Game — NCSU Department of Biological Sciences
  • LEMURS! Diverse and Endangered Primates — Duke Lemur Center

Darwin Day is presented in partnership with the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent).