Evolutionary imagery: illustrating (and distorting) the history of life

T. Ryan Gregory


Associate Professor

Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph

Visual metaphors have been used to convey evolutionary ideas since Darwin’s time.  Some of the earliest kinds of images are still in use, even though they may do more to distort than to illustrate actual evolutionary processes.  This seminar will explore two major evolutionary icons, the “Tree of Life” and “evolutionary line-ups”, as they have been used in the past and how they must be interpreted today. An emphasis will be placed on the importance of “tree thinking” for accurately depicting and understanding evolutionary patterns, and for avoiding some of the most common misconceptions to be overcome as part of evolution education.

Short biosketch here