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Evolution

National Museum of American History

Copepod Evolution

Smithsonian Libraries

Mineral evolution

Smithsonian Libraries
The mineralogy of terrestrial planets evolves as a consequence of a range of physical, chemical, and biological processes. In pre-stellar molecular clouds, widely dispersed microscopic dust particles contain approximately a dozen refractory minerals that represent the starting point of planetary mineral evolution. Gravitational clumping into a protoplanetary disk, star formation, and the resultant heating in the stellar nebula produce primary refractory constituents of chondritic meteorites, including chondrules and calcium-aluminum inclusions, with ~60 different mineral phases. Subsequent aqueous and thermal alteration of chondrites, asteroidal accretion and differentiation, and the consequent formation of achondrites results in a mineralogical repertoire limited to ~250 different minerals found in unweathered meteorite samples. Following planetary accretion and differentiation, the initial mineral evolution of Earth's crust depended on a sequence of geochemical and petrologic processes, including volcanism and degassing, fractional crystallization, crystal settling, assimilation reactions, regional and contact metamorphism, plate tectonics, and associated large-scale fluid-rock interactions. These processes produced the first continents with their associated granitoids and pegmatites, hydrothermal ore deposits, metamorphic terrains, evaporites, and zones of surface weathering, and resulted in an estimated 1500 different mineral species. According to some origin-of-life scenarios, a planet must progress through at least some of these stages of chemical processing as a prerequisite for life. Biological processes began to affect Earth's surface mineralogy by the Eoarchean Era (~3.85-3.6 Ga), when large-scale surface mineral deposits, including banded iron formations, were precipitated under the influences of changing atmospheric and ocean chemistry. The Paleoproterozoic "Great Oxidation Event" (~2.2 to 2.0 Ga), when atmospheric oxygen may have risen to >1% of modern levels, and the Neoproterozoic increase in atmospheric oxygen, which followed several major glaciation events, ultimately gave rise to multicellular life and skeletal biomineralization and irreversibly transformed Earth's surface mineralogy. Biochemical processes may thus be responsible, directly or indirectly, for most of Earth's 4300 known mineral species. The stages of mineral evolution arise from three primary mechanisms: (1) the progressive separation and concentration of the elements from their original relatively uniform distribution in the pre-solar nebula; (2) an increase in range of intensive variables such as pressure, temperature, and the activities of H2O, CO2, and O2; and (3) the generation of far-from-equilibrium conditions by living systems. The sequential evolution of Earth's mineralogy from chondritic simplicity to Phanerozoic complexity introduces the dimension of geologic time to mineralogy and thus provides a dynamic alternate approach to framing, and to teaching, the mineral sciences.

Evolution, by J.A.S. Watson

Smithsonian Libraries
Also available online.

Elecresource

Is evolution predictable?

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Interplay between developmental flexibility and determinism in the evolution of mimetic Heliconius wing patterns. Carolina Concha, Richard W. R. Wallbank , Joseph J. Hanly, Jennifer Fenner, Luca Livraghi, Edgardo Santiago Rivera, Daniel F. Paulo, Carlos Arias, Marta Vargas, Manu Sanjeev, et al. (2019). Current Biology. 29. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.10.010. Animations by Zach Welty

Alexis Rockman's Evolution

Smithsonian American Art Museum
ThumbnailAlexis Rockman kicked off the first in the series of "Art and Science" talks at American Art's McEvoy Auditorium in conjunction with the exhibition of his work: Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow.

Alternate Evolution and Avatar

Smithsonian Magazine

Our Solar-Powered Evolution

Smithsonian Channel
Did natural selection favor darker skin tones? Professor Nina Jablonski never believed that cancer could have an effect on the evolution of skin color, and new research may prove her right. From the Show: Skin Deep http://bit.ly/2ymjhV8

The Evolution of Petface

Smithsonian Magazine
The same traits that make these dogs adorable threaten their health and well-being

Darwinism and the evolution of man

Smithsonian Libraries
Also available online.

Elecresource

Evolution of arthropod mechanisms

Smithsonian Libraries

Dynamics of Evolution exhibit at NMNH, 1979

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
The Dynamics of Evolution exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History opened to the public on May 18, 1979, and was the first exhibit in any American museum to explain the basic steps of evolution.

Photograph of the "Dynamics of Evolution," a major exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History. The "People Tower" in the foreground is covered with more than 100 larger-than-life sized photos of faces that show genetic traits, such as blue or brown eyes, or black or blonde hair. Also there is a "Dog Tower" which illustrates how "artificial" selection by human beings has influenced an animal's evolutionary history. Other labels can be seen explaining evolution-related topics such as "Natural Selection" and "Differentiation." The Dynamics of Evolution exhibit opened to the public on May 18, 1979, and was the first exhibit in any American museum to explain the basic steps of evolution.

Mineralogical Evolution of Meteorites

Smithsonian Libraries
The approximately 250 mineral species found in meteorites record the earliest stages of the birth of our solar system. Refractory minerals that formed during the violent deaths of other stars and during condensation of our own solar nebula mixed with a wide range of silicates, sulfides, and metals to form the most primitive chondritic meteorites. Subsequent aqueous alteration, thermal metamorphism, and shock metamorphism further diversified the minerals found in meteorites. Asteroidal melting at first increased and then dramatically decreased mineralogical diversity, before a new phase of igneous differentiation that presaged the processes that would occur in terrestrial planets.

Evolution of river dolphins

Smithsonian Libraries

Our Solar-Powered Evolution

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service Podcasts
Did natural selection favor darker skin tones? Professor Nina Jablonski never believed that cancer could have an effect on the evolution of skin color, and new research may prove her right.
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The Evolution of Swing

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum Staff in the Dynamics of Evolution Exhibit

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
"Dynamics of Evolution," the first exhibit hall in any American science museum to explain the basic steps of evolution, opened as a permanent installation in the National Museum of Natural History.

The "Dynamics of Evolution," exhibit in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History seen from above. A group of Smithsonian staff members pose for a photograph in the "Dynamics of Evolution" exhibition next to the "People Tower" and the "Dog Tower. The "People Tower" is covered with more than 100 larger than life-size photos of faces showing genetic traits, such as blue or brown eyes, or black or blond hair. The "Dog Tower" illustrates how "artificial" selection by human beings has influenced an animal's evolutionary history.

Initiative in evolution, by Walter Kidd ..

Smithsonian Libraries
Also available online.

Elecresource

EVOLUTION AND LARVAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Ph.D student Frances Armstrong talks about the evolution and processes involved in the larval development of echinoderms in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

The Human Evolution World Tour

Smithsonian Magazine

The Evolution of the Homepage

Smithsonian Magazine
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