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All lectures will be presented in person. Zoom recordings will be posted on the following day


Darwin Week Kickoff

3:15pm - Research “flash talks” from CofC faculty
4:00pm - The Mace Brown Museum of Natural History
5:00pm - Pizza party in the atrium/courtyard

Saturday, Feb. 11
3:15pm - SSMB 129 (Auditorium)
Event Flyer (.pdf)



Evolution's Problem with Sex, from Darwin to Today

Levi Morran

Emory University
Morran Website

Monday, Feb. 13
4:00pm - RITA 101
Event Flyer (.pdf)

Zoom Recording of Levi Morran's Lecture

Sex is the most prevalent form of reproduction among plants and animals. This widespread prevalence of sex is a major problem for evolutionary biology. Not only is sex more common than self-fertilization or asexual reproduction, sex is also far more costly from an evolutionary perspective. So, why sex? Darwin was one of the first biologists to ask this question. While we still lack a definitive answer to the question, evolutionary biologists have made progress on understanding the selective pressures that favor sex. Dr. Morran shares some insights that his lab has uncovered and talks about where we go from here.



Peacock Tails and the Limits of Human Sexual Selection: Lessons from the Kunene

Sean Prall

University of Missouri
Prall Website

Tuesday, Feb. 14
4:30pm - RITA 101
Event Flyer (.pdf)

Darwinian sexual selection has been applied to a variety of physiological, anatomical, cognitive, and behavioral traits to explain sex differences and patterns of behavior in humans. These avenues have yielded a number of insights into human biology and behavior, including in research in mate preferences and partnership formation. However, much of this work fails to take into account ecological and cultural variation and has received criticism for lack of cross-cultural generalizability. One solution is in-depth multi-disciplinary research on mating from more ecologically valid settings. Drawing on data collected as part of the Kunene Rural Health and Demography Project, Dr. Prall presents research that 1) challenges the conventional wisdom about sex differences in mate preferences, 2) highlights the importance of market-based competition in pair-bond formation, 3) contests predictions about the role of paternity on paternal investment, and 4) indicates the importance ecology and cultural evolution in shaping patterns of mating and parenting. Results from this project demonstrate how incorporation of diverse ecologies and culturally relevant predictors can better inform understandings of sexual selection and human behavior.



Your Fantastic Fossil Family Tree

Hosted by Allison Foley

College of Charleston

Wednesday, Feb. 15
3:30 - 5:30pm - SSMB Atrium
Event Flyer (.pdf)

Come meet your extinct relatives and learn how scientists use fossil remains to understand human evolution. In this all-ages, interactive lab, you can explore plaster replicas of ancient human ancestors (and off-shoots), observe variation in brain, tooth, and face size across time, and learn about the many tools and features paleoanthropologists and paleontologists use to interpret these special fossils.



Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer: 

Taming the Dark Matter Zoo Without Telescopes

Reyco Henning

University of North Carolina
Henning Website

Thursday, Feb. 16
4:30pm - SSMB 129 (Auditorium)
Event flyer (.pdf)

Zoom Recording of Reyco Henning's Lecture (hosted at The Citadel)

The nature of dark matter is one of the most profound mysteries of contemporary physics. Based on many astronomical observations, its existence is indisputable, but it has also never been observed to interact with “normal” matter, and its true nature remains unknown – a perilous situation since dark matter makes up 85% of the matter in the universe! In this talk Dr. Henning presents the dark matter mystery and why we are convinced that dark matter exists. He then discusses the rich and rapidly evolving experimental searches, some of which have interesting overlaps with fields like nuclear physics and quantum computers.

Please plan to join us afterwards for cake in celebration of Charles Darwin's birthday!


Beyond Zero

A Film Screening Hosted by Deb Bidwell

College of Charleston
Beyond Zero Website

Thursday, Feb. 16
7:00pm - SSMB 129 (Auditorium)
Event flyer (.pdf)

After a life-changing epiphany, the CEO of a global public company embarks on a high-stakes quest to eliminate all negative environmental impacts by 2020. To succeed, they must overcome deep skepticism, abandon the status quo, and ignite a new industrial revolution. Beyond Zero offers an inspirational roadmap for how business can reverse climate change. Now the challenge for leaders is not can you do it, the question is are you willing to do it?



Astronomy Open House

College of Charleston Observatory
RITA, 3rd floor

Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

Friday, Feb. 17
6:30 - 8:00pm
Event flyer (.pdf)

This event is free, but tickets are required. Please obtain tickets here:
Astronomy Open House Tickets



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