Origins: From Jungle to Lab.  The Story of Life's Complexity
Picture: Pinned Insect
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Who Cares, Anyway?

To piece together the clues of evolutionary biology, researchers spend countless hours in the field and lab. What drives them in their work? And what makes it important to the rest of us?

The living world is full of mysteries.
Darwin plant from collection

While physicists and chemists are able to state laws that hold true in all situations, the sheer complexity of the biological world makes it far from predictable. Today's biologists are only beginning to understand how evolution has led to the diversity of life on earth.

"What we don't know is much, much greater than what we do know," says entomologist Andrew Polaszek.
Read the transcript.

We could predict environmental changes.

Biologists can sometimes use their knowledge of how species relate to one another to restore ecosystems to their natural balance. For example, if a species begins to overpopulate an area, introducing new predators could help keep its numbers down.

Zoologist Mark Wilkinson talks about the future of biology.
(audio file with transcript)

Jon Martin's lab bench in Belize
Biology is a way of experiencing the world's beauty.
Jon Martin looks at a bug through a hand lens.

Throughout time and across cultures, people have wondered about the origins of the world they live in. Studying biology offers a way to satisfy this innate curiosity and, like gazing at the night sky, helps us to perceive the grandeur of the natural world.

Zoologist Mark Wilkinson explains how biology is an "aesthetic enterprise."
(audio file with transcript)

Know the Biology
Tree of Life
Who Cares?
What's Evolution?
What's a Species?

Origins: Exploratorium: From Jungle to Lab

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Origins From Jungle to Lab: The Story of Life's Complexity Origins Exploratorium From Jungle to Lab