I recently watched 3 DVD’s about Darwin. Since posting about the stranded dolphins and how they make me think about evolution this winter and Darwin’s orchid this spring I have been wanting to learn a little bit more about Charles Darwin. The Origin Of Species is on my slightly longish to-read list so I thought in the meantime I would take out some DVD’s. I did and I came away even more amazed by this revolutionary observer and thinker and the science he started that continues today enhanced by the study of genetics!
The first DVD was a feature film staring Paul Bettany as Darwin and real life wife Jennifer Connolly. I found this to be a very well made film that portrayed Darwin as a real family man, highly involved with his children as well as someone who personally struggled with his findings and how they contradicted literal interpretations of the bible. Darwin’s work appeared to be quite a sore spot between himself and his devout wife. My one warning is that there is a very sad thread woven through this film. I found the special features interesting which including some background on Darwin as well as the book the movie is based on plus 3 contrasting points of view of on the theory of evolution.
Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life
The next one was a documentary from the BBC Earth series hosted by broadcaster and naturalist, David Attenborough, who is clearly highly passionate about this subject. This program is an easy to follow overview of Darwin and his life history as well as his work, theories, and finding plainly and interestingly explained with physical examples like the platypus!
What Darwin Never Knew
The third DVD was about how Darwin’s theories are being expanded upon through the study of genetics. This program takes some of Darwin’s best evolutionary examples and elaborates on them with what we are discovering today through genetic research. For example Darwin discovered finches on the Galapagos Islands that have different beaks depending on their specific island’s available food supply. The study of genetics is helping to explain how these mutations occur. It also goes into some detail on the subject of embryonic development and how DNA, while often 99% the same, can produce very different species. Fascinating!
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