Editorial: Darwin’s Year
© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008
Received: 9 November 2008
Accepted: 28 November 2008
Published: 16 January 2009
Welcome to the first issue of 2009—the year in which we turn two, and Charles Robert Darwin turns 200! We will be dedicating all of Volume 2 to the honor of this great scientist, in celebration of his life and work—and especially as the founder of modern evolutionary biology.
This very first “birthday” issue is timed to coincide with Darwin’s actual 200th birthday on February 12, with many of the contributions specifically focused on Darwin’s work in evolution.
We plan to follow up, in our second issue (June), with a collection of hard-hitting reviews of modern research on “transitional fossils.” Darwin would have loved this—as good examples of transitional fossils (as Anastasia Thanukos points out in her column in this issue) were scarce in Darwin’s time. This second, special issue will be guest-edited by paleontologist Donald Prothero; it follows in the instant tradition of “special issues” devoted to core evolutionary themes established by our preceding issue (Vol. 1 # 4) on the evolution of complexity (“focused” on eyes) and edited by our Associate Editor T. Ryan Gregory. Our third issue (September) will be especially devoted to curriculum issues—guest-edited by editorial board member Kristin Jenkins. Our primary goal is to connect the world of evolutionary science more directly with the classroom—and we shall be redoubling our efforts in this issue to focus on innovative approaches to bringing evolution alive in the classroom and to seeing evolution as central, not only to biology but to many other facets of the general educational curriculum. As Ian Tattersall points out in this issue, there were very few genuine human fossils known in Darwin’s day. Famously and gratifyingly, that situation has been changed drastically—so that we now can point with pride to the fossil record of human evolution (and its related molecular and anatomical study of living primates) as one of the very best examples of evolutionary history known to science! What better way, then, to round out our second year than with a December issue devoted to human evolution, guest-edited by Will Harcourt-Smith of the American Museum of Natural History. Darwin would have loved that too! No resting on our laurels now—we have had a tremendously successful first year and are hitting the ground running as we charge into our second year. Full speed ahead!