Darwin Day Speaker Brings Feminist Viewpoint to Biology Research

The Bayer School's annual Darwin Day is a celebration of the life and scientific achievements of Charles Darwin as well as the importance of science education is today's world. For our 2013 event, we will welcome evolutionary biologist Dr. Marlene Zuk as she presents Sex and the Scala Naturae on Thursday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 p.m., in the Power Center Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Zuk, from the University of Minnesota's Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, is a noted researcher in the areas of behavioral ecology and evolutionary biology. She is also recognized for her commitments to the causes of science education and scientific literacy.

In her Darwin Day presentation, Dr. Zuk will explain how a feminist perspective can add insight to biology, and what new perspectives biology can add to feminism. Nowhere is this feminist-biologist perspective more important than in the study of animal mating behaviors. To that end, Dr. Zuk will illuminate the pitfalls of anthropomorphism, which leads scientists to project their views onto animal subjects in misleading ways. Conversely, she will critique claims that some aspects of human sexual behavior are or are not "natural," based on what we observe in animals.

The author of engaging books that reveal the marvels of evolution and animal behavior, Dr. Zuk's works are noted for their wit and clarity. Among her writings is the popular book Sexual Selections: What We Can and Can't Learn About Sex from Animals.

In addition to the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Darwin Day 2013 also is sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences and the Center for Women's and Gender Studies.

A reception in the Shepperson Suite will follow Dr. Zuk's speech. For more information, visit the Darwin Day web page.

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