The concepts of evolution are widely misunderstood outside the scientific community. Fortunately, the web can serve to rectify some of these common misunderstandings. In this non-experts’ guide to evolution, we provide links to scholarly resources and educational sites that can help students and interested parties outside the world of professional biology to discover the fascinating world of evolutionary research.
The Science Behind The Theory
Since its inception as a science, evolutionary biology has become a dominant field in the life sciences, touching on every other subdiscipline of biology and spawning a number of sub-subdisciplines itself. We’ve included links that explain evolution and a number of related fields.
- PBS has a FAQ about the principles of evolution.
- Science News has published an article introducing the discipline of molecular evolution to a general audience.
- The Interactive Tree of Life lets the user explore the phylogenetic tree from primitive life to modern organisms.
- A discussion of genetic drift, a feature of evolution that occurs without a major natural-selective impetus.
- Popular science writer John Hawks discusses how speciation works.
- The University of Michigan has put together a lesson plan on the mechanisms of natural selection.
- The Smithsonian has put together a geologic timeline and uses it to explore the world of paleobiology.
- A general-purpose evolution portal assembled by the University of California, Berkeley.
- The principles of the Darwinian/Mendelian synthesis, as explained by the cognitive science department at the University of California, Los Angeles.
- Famed author Isaac Asimov discusses the inherent flaws of creationist theory, and why evolution is the nearest thing we can find to objective truth about life on this planet.
- The American Museum of Natural History maintains an online exhibit on the life of Charles Darwin.
The following are the primary scholarly and governmental organizations dedicated to evolutionary biology.
- The Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution is the principal world organization sponsoring the study of molecular evolution.
- The European Society for Evolutionary Biology sponsors biological research throughout Europe.
- The Integrated Taxonomic Information System collects information on taxonomies and phylogeny throughout North America.
- The Society for the Study of Evolution is one of the major professional organizations of evolutionary biologists.
- The Willi Hennig Society promotes the evolutionary study of phylogeny and cladistics.
- The Open Evolution Journal is a peer-reviewed journal that is freely available online.
- The Journal of Evolution and Technology bridges the gap between natural and social science, discussing issues of bioethics, transhumanism, and other zones where biology and the humanities intersect.
- The Journal of Molecular Evolution is a leading publication in the field.
- Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution is dedicated to an evolutionary and molecular understanding of phylogeny.
- Genome Biology and Evolution discusses biology from a primarily gene-centered perspective.
- Evolutionary Ecology Research examines the interfaces between evolution and ecology.
- The complete works of the father of evolution, Charles Darwin, freely available online.
- Evolution is a top journal in the fields of evolutionary biology, ecology, and genetics.
- The International Journal of Organic Evolution is another leading journal.
- The Journal of Human Evolution discusses the relationship between anthropology and evolutionary biology.
- Molecular Biology and Evolution explores the crossover space between these two disciplines.
IMAGE: Darwin’s famous finches, demonstrating the evolution of different species within different environments (Source: Wikimedia Commons)