The House of Science presents the exhibition TO THE ASTONISHMENT OF MR
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The House of Science presents the exhibition TO THE ASTONISHMENT OF MR

DARWIN To mark the celebration of Darwin Year and to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book On the Origin of S pecies 24th November 2009 the Science Museums of Coru57585a present an exh ibition which constitutes the star

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The House of Science presents the exhibition TO THE ASTONISHMENT OF MR




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The House of Science presents the exhibition TO THE ASTONISHMENT OF MR. DARWIN To mark the celebration of Darwin Year, and to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book On the Origin of S pecies (24th November, 2009), the Science Museums of Corua present an exh ibition which constitutes the star intervention of this anniversary. The exhibition aims to convey to the public the work of the leading player in a scientific discovery that transformed our way of understanding the world: the theory of biological evolution by natural selection, which

Darwin detailed in his famous book On the Origin of Species (1859). The new statement that all present living beings, humans included, descend from previous ones, from which they originated by natural mechanisms, revolutionized science and many other things. Darwins astonishment is that of a young man attracted to knowledge and the enjoyment of Nature, fascinated by what he obse rves during his fantastic voyage. It is also the astonishment of the man who develops a revolutionary theory, moved by its significance and i mpact. It is an intelligent astonishment, which runs parallel to the

strict appl ication of a scientific methodology. It also shows the creative aspects of scien ce, a stimulating path of questions and answers, which Darwin travelle d quite a long stretch. The script was written by the Science Museums of Corua team, wh o also produced the exhibition. To the Astonishment of de Mr. Darwin | Sciencie Museums of Corua (=mc2) www.misterdarwin.eu
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CONTENTS The exhibition is formed by 11 exhibits, distributed in six fields: scientific and sentimental education, the voyage aboard the Beagle, the development of a revolutionary theory, an

amazing explanati on, Darwinism shook the world and myths and mysteries around evoluti on. Besides, on the outside of the building a replica remembers Harrie t, the tortoise that Darwin collected in the Galapagos during his voyage. I t died in 2006, at the approximate age of 176. The exhibition welcomes visitors with a real life replica of a megatherium, located in the ground floor of the museum. Collector by nature This unit, dedicated to curiosity and collecting as a scientific attitude, contains a graphic panel which represents in cartoons the following passage of Darwins autobiography: I

will give a proof of my zeal: one day, on tearing off some old bark, I saw two rare beetles, and seized one in each hand; then I saw a third and new kind, which I could not bear to lose, so that I popped the one which I held in my right hand into my mouth. Alas! it ejected so me intensely acrid fluid, which burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost, as was the third one. To the Astonishment of de Mr. Darwin | Sciencie Museums of Corua (=mc2) www.misterdarwin.eu
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Another cabinet also displays examples of collections: beetles, vinyl

records, figures from the childrens series Gormiti. Fantastic voyage This unit deals with the voyage aboard the Beagle and how Darwin discovers a different vision on Nature. It contains a large scale globe on which visitors can follow his route around the world. A computer offers the possibility to stop at the same places as Darwin and discover the activities and experiences he lived. Message of the fossils Its purpose is to discover past and current biological diversity. To achi eve this it presents a stratigraphic column, in which different telephone models have been buried between layers

of sediment, following th e evolution line of this technological invention. Also, three cabinets display examples of species which are related by evolution (a lizard, a dinosaur and a hen), of living fossi ls (Nautilus) and the difficulty of recreating past beings from its fossils, illustrated w ith a comprehensive collection of toy velociraptors. To the Astonishment of de Mr. Darwin | Sciencie Museums of Corua (=mc2) www.misterdarwin.eu
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An intriguing lead A graphic panel shows the geographical distribution of Darwins chaffinches in the Galapagos, with their food,

peaks and ways of feeding themselves. These birds, of which he observed 13 species, could be distinguished by the form of their peaks. Their study was one of the keys to solve the enigma of evolution. Artificial selection: a key lead This unit explains how human beings modified species by the selectio n of reproductive specimens. It contains a replica of the wild cabbage plant, surrounded by images of some of its different varieties and other s that bear no relation to it. Visitors must raise lids to discover if the plant is related to the cabbage. Also, the aquarium displays a variety of

living carps; these fishes are the result of artificial selection. Evolutions engine This unit explains that the common characteristics of living beings suggest a biological relationship. This is achieved with interactive desks accompanied by cabinets that display objects which relate to some of these characteristics. For instance, one of them displays a collection of skeletons of extremities from different groups of vertebrae, and in the interactive desk one can find the names of the bones common to al l of them. Evolution in action A television screen plays a video that illustrates the

growth of a bacterial population and a selection of specimens based on the random apparition of mutations, and its surroundings (the use of antibiotics, for instan ce). It aims to present the theory of natural selection as a surprising expl anation of evolution. To the Astonishment of de Mr. Darwin | Sciencie Museums of Corua (=mc2) www.misterdarwin.eu
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At its side, the cultural triumph of technological options that weren t the best designs is shown: a QUERTY keyboard (the most used today) in fro nt of a DSK one (Dvorak Simplified Keyboard). Visitors have a DSK keyboard

at their disposal to try and write on it. A cultural revolution This unit contains a group of elements that show the social impact of Darwinism. Among them, an 1889 edition of On the Origin of Species, another of Charles Lyells Principles of Geology from 1867, and other documents such as a letter Darwin sent to Galician naturalist Vctor Lpez Seoane. A video also shows images of the debate between Huxley and Wilbef orce, and a collection of caricatures of Darwin; some, in which he was ridiculized, belong to his time, and others from the present show th e cultural impact of

his work. A theory under construction This unit presents a game of classifying printed documents related to evolution: magazine covers, newspaper articles, leaflets, adverti sements, books. To the Astonishment of de Mr. Darwin | Sciencie Museums of Corua (=mc2) www.misterdarwin.eu
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What do we know about evolution This unit contains five productions that deal with some of the questio ns that are being investigated at present in connection with evolution: Does natural selection consist in the survival of the strongest? Is Homo Sapiens at the peak of evolution? Is

evolution moving forward to mor e complex beings? Does natural selection provide species with the features they need? Are the results of evolution predictable? To illustrate these questions, this unit proposes a game of putting in o rder evolution sequences, a cabinet with specimens of animals with structur es that were simplified by natural selection, and the skull of a S milodon, an example that not always the strongest survive. To the Astonishment of de Mr. Darwin | Sciencie Museums of Corua (=mc2) www.misterdarwin.eu