Monday, February 6, 2012

Learn about Charles Darwin and his legacy at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Why do oystercatchers have long, sharp bills? Why are chili peppers spicy? Why do servals (a kind of African wild cat) have such long legs? Come explore the answers to these questions and more at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on Darwin Day, Saturday, Feb. 11. The free event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will span the first three floors of the museum as well as outside in the Bicentennial Plaza. Visitors will learn more about Charles Darwin and his research as well as the legacy that he has left behind.
On the plaza, staff from the Conservators’ Center of Mebane will show off a serval and discuss the advantages that the cat has gained through evolutionary adaptations. Inside the museum, on the first through third floors, museum and visiting educators will be available to explain more about Darwinism, natural selection and research that has stemmed from Darwin’s original theories.
At 11:30 a.m. in the auditorium on the first floor, don’t miss keynote speaker Dr. Roland Kays, the museum’s new biodiversity and earth observation research lab director, at the new Nature Research Center and Chef Josh DeCarolis, from Jujube in Chapel Hill, in their combination lecture and cooking demo. Kays will discuss the evolution of chili peppers while DeCarolis demonstrates cooking methods incorporating those chilies. There will be samples provided for visitors to taste.
Windows on the World on the third floor will host two more speakers. At 2 p.m., Dr. William Kimler will discuss the “Discovery of Evolution.” At 3:30 p.m., Ted Simons will present “Adapting to Dynamic Environments: American Oystercatchers on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.”
There will also be several fun activities for kids, including arts and crafts, button making and interactive exhibits about Darwin. For more information about Darwin Day, contact Bonnie Eamick at (919) 733-7450, ext. 554, or by email at

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