Evolution experts convene at Raleigh Convention Center

swheeler@newsobserver.comJune 19, 2014 

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— Ever wonder what shapes social behavior? Or what explains bird coloration?

The evolutionary scientists flocking to Raleigh this week certainly do.

The “Evolution 2014” meeting kicks off Friday at the Raleigh Convention Center, bringing more than 2,000 attendees from 38 countries.

Attending scientists will showcase cutting-edge research through hundreds of presentations and posters over the course of the meeting, which runs through Tuesday. Even K-12 students will present research this year.

Some of the hot topics of discussion include symbiosis, invasion, pollination and local adaptation. Workshops include subjects such as genome software school and Evolution 101 for high school teachers.

Members of the public can get in on some of the action, as well.

Professor Steve Jones of University College London will give a free talk, “Snails in Art and the Art of Snails: An Evolutionist’s Journey Through Science and the Arts,” at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Ballroom C of the convention center. Jones has written more than over 11 books, including his most recent, “The Serpent’s Promise: The Bible Retold as Science.”

Also, an exhibit of artist Lynne Fellman’s work will be on display at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences through the end of July. Her subjects use DNA kits to reveal their ancestry. The exhibit combines portraits, personal stories and explanations of genomic science to tell a story about human interconnectedness.

A partnership of three large scientific societies produces Evolution 2014: The Society for the Study of Evolution, the Society of Systematic Biologists, and the American Society of Naturalists.

Wheeler: 919-829-8994

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