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Replaying Life's Tape through the Lens of Plants - Free Arnold Arboretum Lecture - Members Only

Monday, January 22, 2018

Speaker: William (Ned) Friedman, Arnold Arboretum Director and Arnold Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University.

What can an understanding of the history of photosynthetic life tell us of the human condition? Are we, as a cognitive species, an absolutely inevitable consequence of several billion years of evolution? Or, should we wake up every morning with an exhilarating sense of the sheer improbability of just being!

For decades, going back to the book Wonderful Life, by Stephen J. Gould, the debate as to the probabilities of intelligent life evolving not only here on Earth, but throughout the universe, has ebbed and flowed. None of the chief protagonists in this debate (zoologists, microbiologists, or philosophers) has ever thought about how an understanding of plant evolutionary history might bear heavily on the conclusions one reaches.

Professor Friedman will discuss how just a few tweaks to the evolutionary history of plants might ultimately have precluded human life from evolving on Earth and whether such tweaks could occur upon replaying life's tape.

Part of the Director's Lecture Series.

Arnold Arboretum
125 Arborway
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Sponsor(s): Arnold Arboretum
Time(s): 7:00pm
Cost: Free, but registration required. Members only.
Phone: 617-384-5277

Published on Tuesday, November 14, 2017.
All information is subject to change.

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