– This event is a production of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.
– It is free and open to the public.
– RSVPs are not required to attend.
– Books will be available for purchase and signing by the author after his talk.
The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory Shapes the World
William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology, Yale University
Head Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
It is commonly thought that Darwin’s theory of natural selection explains every branch on the tree of life: which species thrive, which wither away to extinction, and what features each evolves. But can adaptation by natural selection really account for everything we see in nature?
Yale University ornithologist Richard Prum—reviving Darwin’s own views—thinks not. In thirty years of fieldwork, Prum has seen numerous display traits that seem disconnected from, if not outright contrary to, selection for individual survival.
In his new book The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory Shapes the Animal World and Us, Prum dusts off Darwin’s long-neglected theory of sexual selection in which the act of choosing a mate for purely aesthetic reasons—for the mere pleasure of it—is an independent engine of evolutionary change.
The Evolution of Beauty presents a unique scientific vision for how nature’s splendor contributes to a more complete understanding of evolution and of ourselves.
About the author
Richard Prum is William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology at Yale University, and Head Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. He has conducted fieldwork throughout the world, and has studied fossil theropod dinosaurs in China. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2010.