Rhymes With Australopithecus

Monday, November 23, 2009 - 01:43 PM

Studio 360 Episode 1125, Evolution Charles Darwin, Seated. (Courtesy of University College London Digital Collection)

British poet Ruth Padel shares Charles Darwin's DNA -- she's his great-great granddaughter.  Inspired by the life of her (relatively) early relative, this descendant of the Descent of Man author pays tribute to her forefather in verse to commemorate the 150th anniversary of On The Origin of Species and the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth.

Darwin: A Life in Poems tells the naturalist's life story in spellbinding odes like "Survival of the Fittest," which describes his guilt over the death of his 10-year-old daughter Annie, who was the product of his marriage to his first cousin Emma:

You can also listen to Kurt's full interview with Padel:

And poetry isn't the only lyrical form inspired by Darwin's theories.  Science historian Richard Milner punctuates his lectures with Jimmy Durante-style tunes about Darwin's findings.  It's all a part of his effort to humanize him: "Everybody has to find their own Darwin," says Milner.  "He's so large, you can find yourself in him."

 

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