Bio 1B, Summer 2009
Evolution, Lecture 1
Professor Alan Shabel
Page 1 of 3
Updated on 22 June 2009
EVOLUTION, LECTURE 1: HISTORY OF EVOLUTIONARY THOUGHT
(1–8, 12–17, 452–458)
Course structure and logistics
. Biology 1B is an integrated course that includes lecture, lab,
and discussion section. Lectures are held in
. Midterms are held in the same room during class time on 13 July, 27 July, and 13
August. There is no final exam.
. My office hours will follow class, from
make sure you are up-to-date on the reading (caught up to the previous day), so that office
hours is productive for everyone. All of the GSIs will hold office hours each week as well.
. The lecture series is divided into three modules: (1) Evolution, (2) Ecology,
and (3) Plants & Fungi. Each module has a review scheduled before its midterm. On the day
of the review, I will tie up loose ends, review the entire module, and answer questions.
. Note that the assigned readings for each day (from the 8
) are given after the lecture title (at the top of this page).
BIODIVERSITY: THE UNITY AND DIVERSITY OF LIFE
The extraordinary variety of living forms has always amazed and inspired humankind. Our
ancestors were apparently as fascinated by nature as we are today, and ancient rock paintings,
such as in the recently discovered cave of Chauvet, in southern France, show the exquisite
attention to detail paid by human observers of wild animals (32,000 years ago).
The biological knowledge and wisdom of indigenous cultures worldwide attest to the universal
affinity of humans for other organisms. Psychologists have called the attraction of humans to
living systems (evident in children from an early age),
, and E. O. Wilson defined this
phenomenon in terms of “the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest
The attention paid to nature by our ancestors was partly motivated by practical needs, and
some of it was motivated by curiosity, awe, and respect. A similar mix of motives typifies the
best scientists of the 21