Comparing anatomy

To explain:

  • Alice Roberts is Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham. She is a physical anthropologist, author, and popular TV science presenter, and was once nominated for the Prime Ministership of Italy;
  • comparative anatomy is the study of similarities and differences in the anatomy of different organisms;
  • my use of the phrase ‘on the nature of limbs’ is a reference to a book of that name by Richard Owen;
  • Richard Owen was a brilliant Victorian anatomist. An adversary of Charles Darwin, he invented the word dinosaur, and was responsible for the creation of what later became the Natural History Museum in London. Owen believed that the anatomies of all vertebrates shared the same basic blueprint, which he referred to as the archetype;
  • Charles Darwin was a total dude, who realised that Owen's so-called archetype in fact represented the common ancestor of all vertebrates;
  • Ernst Haeckel was a brilliant German biologist, who developed his own (mostly wrong) version of Darwinism;
  • Edward B. Lewis was an twentieth-century American geneticist, who co-received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his pioneering work on fruit flies;
  • Horizon is a long-running, BBC popular science television programme.

Or, to put it another way:

  • Alice Roberts sent me a tweet mentioning Charles Darwin!

My work here is almost complete.

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


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