Monday, March 11, 2019

New Exhibit: Understanding the Principles of Evolution

If you have been to the Bean Museum recently, you might have noticed a closed-off section of our museum on the main floor. You might even say our exhibits are evolving...

We are excited about the opening of our new exhibit, Understanding the Principles of Evolution, on Wednesday, March 13. This exhibit will feature four main sections covering the following topics: adaptation, natural selection, artificial selection, and supporting evidence of the theory of evolution.

Duke Rogers, director of the Bean Museum, explained the purpose of this new exhibit in our museum:

The museum’s Exhibits Committee had been contemplating the development of an exhibit about evolution for some time.  This past September, 2018, we decided to move ahead with an evolution exhibit and have its opening coincide with a College of Life Sciences seminar by Dr. John Hawks on March 14th, 2019.  Dr. Hawks, the co-describer of the fossil hominid species Homo naledi, was invited by faculty in the Biology Department and we decided to have a permanent display about the science of evolution as well as a temporary exhibit dealing specifically with hominid evolution – the general topic of Dr. Hawks’ research seminar.  The Biology Department offers two classes about evolution and has a number of hominid fossil reconstructions that faculty generously allowed us use in the hominid display.  The Exhibits Committee hopes that our patrons will spend time contemplating our “Faith and Science” display before taking in our new evolution exhibit.  Our evolution exhibit fits the museum’s mission of showcasing the Earth’s biodiversity as well as explaining how science and faith are two compatible “ways of knowing”.

Regarding evolution, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have said, “The Church has no official position on the theory of evolution. Organic evolution, or changes to species’ inherited traits over time, is a matter for scientific study. Nothing has been revealed concerning evolution. Though the details of what happened on earth before Adam and Eve, including how their bodies were created, have not been revealed, our teachings regarding man’s origin are clear and come from revelation.” (New Era Oct 2016)

The purpose of this exhibit is to explore the well-supported scientific theory of evolution. The purpose is not to establish doctrine for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We hope that visitors will enjoy this exhibit and be inspired to learn more about how evolution impacts the natural world.

The following are a few highlights of our new exhibit:

1. Our first ever 3D-printed objects in the museum, including 5 canine skulls.

2. Fossils from 3 continents. (Africa, Europe, and North America)

3. Specimens from every continent except Australia.

Visit our website or read this BYU News article to learn more about this new exhibit.

We hope you enjoy this new addition to our museum and look forward to seeing you soon!

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