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Do Elephants Have Knees? And Other Stories of Darwinian Origins$
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Charles R., Jr. Ault

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501704673

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501704673.001.0001

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Wonderful Relationships

Wonderful Relationships

Stories of Darwinian Origins

(p.1) Introduction Wonderful Relationships
Do Elephants Have Knees? And Other Stories of Darwinian Origins

Charles R. Ault

Cornell University Press

This book synthesizes science and history to make stories of Darwinian origins vivid and interesting. Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species indelibly changed the world's understanding of ancestry and descent and laid the groundwork for evolutionary biology. The serious themes in Darwin's science often tread the same ground as the whimsical ones found in children's literature. This book uses whimsical stories written for children to teach about the imagery of Darwinism. By pairing scientific stories of origins with characters from children's literature, it examines Darwin's conception of nature and tackles Kiplingesque questions that dominate the Darwinian histories, such as those related to lobe-fins, whales, elephants, birds, and even coral-foraging pigs. This introduction discusses stereotypes of Darwin; the origins of origins stories; and whimsical storytelling as a means to comprehend Darwinian origins. It also explains how origins stories give to naming a clear purpose: inferring common ancestry. Finally, it considers Darwinian histories as a form of disciplined study.

Keywords:   evolution, Charles Darwin, children's literature, Darwinism, nature, Darwinian histories, ancestry, descent, evolutionary biology

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