Changing Planet

Darwin Devotees Make “Father of Evolution” Facebook Superstar

Hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life joined a Facebook group devoted to the celebration of this year’s 200th anniversary of the birth of the “Father of Evolution,” Charles Darwin. Now the organizers of the Facebook group are hoping hundreds of thousands more will sign up to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publishing of Darwin’s famous book, On the Origin of Species.

The runup to the anniversary in November will also be marked by a series of lectures by some of the most eminent thinkers about evolution, which anyone may register to attend online.


NGS illustration of Charles Darwin and the variety of life that intrigued him by Ned M. Seidler

By Brian Handwerk

Special contributor to NatGeo News Watch

Charles Darwin’s virtual birthday bash was such a smashing success its organizers are hoping for an encore.

A quarter of a million people joined a Facebook group ( to record videos, pen poems, draw pictures, and otherwise wish the Father of Evolution a happy 200th.


Now Phil Terry and Kendall Crolius hope to top that effort and rally one million Darwin devotees to their cause by November 24. On the Origin of Species was first published on that date 150 years ago.

As On the Origin of Species is one of the most important books with some of the biggest ideas in the last 2,500 years, we think it deserves one of the biggest groups on Facebook, says the group’s Web site The Darwin 150 Project.

The viral, grassroots effort to celebrate all things Darwin has picked up steam around the globe, adding hundreds of people a day and drawing a wide range of Darwin enthusiasts to the cause with technologies like Twitter (

Proud Monkeys

“Phil calls us a rag-tag group of global volunteers,” Crolius said, though participants also refer to themselves as “a group of proud monkeys.”

The group is open to anyone with an interest in Darwin but includes some of the world’s top scientific minds, who will tackle evolutionary topics in a series of free, live webcast lectures this fall.

The first talk of five talks, by esteemed Harvard University Professor Emeritus Everett Mendelsohn, is slated for September 16. Fittingly, it will set the stage for the Darwin’s evolution revolution by exploring the “World Before Darwin.”

Later speakers will include Jonathan Weiner (October 7) & Sean Carroll (November 4) on On the Origin of Species itself, and E.O. Wilson on the future frontiers of evolutionary biology (November 24).

“We’ve been surprised and thrilled that these people are willing and happy to share their love of the subject with people who are not necessarily academics but just very interested in Darwin,” said Crolius, who in her day job is a founding partner of the Sulevia Group.

Telephone reading groups have also formed for those who wish to tackle the seminal text in a Socratic style dialogue with expert moderator Stephanie Aktipis, of Harvard’s Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (fees may apply).

Reading groups will meet Tuesdays October 6, November 3, and December 8.

Crolius said those who’ve never picked up Darwin’s famed book (online text available) might not be able to put it down once they give it a chance.

“He’s not just a brilliant scientist, he’s a wonderful writer,” she explained. “The way he describes things obviously reflects back on those extraordinary powers of observation which enabled him to hold all that information in his head and then connect the dots.”


Darwin Resources:

Darwin’s First Clues (National Geographic Magazine)

Was Darwin Wrong? (National Geographic Magazine)

PHOTOS: 7 Major “Missing Links” Since Darwin (National Geographic News)

“Instant” Evolution Seen in Darwin’s Finches, Study Says (National Geographic News)

Darwin’s Secret Notebooks (National Geographic Channel)

PHOTOS: How Do Species Evolve? (National Geographic News)

The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online

Darwin Correspondence Project

Darwin Digital Libarary of Evolution

The Charles Darwin Trust



Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn
  • antonio


  • Sasha Lessin, Ph.D.


    Neil Freer wrote: “DARWINIAN PRINCIPLES DO NOT APPLY TO OUR SYNTHETIC GENESIS [as engineered hybrid Nibiran/Erectus mine slaves] and subsequent development except as a minor theme in our incidental climatic and regional physical adaptations.

    “300,000 years ago, “the Anunnaki [astronaut-goldminers from the planet Nibiru] jumped the gun on [Earth’s] evolution and, using genetic engineering, upgraded a hominid, Homo Erectus–to an intelligent, tool-handling Homo sapiens) to be their serf. It happened in the Great Rift Valley zone of southeast Africa, just north of the goldmining land. The wild hominid of the Abzu [Africa] had DNS similar enough to the Anunnaki’s that just a little genetic mixing produced a Being that, according to Sumerians and the Bible, was akin to the `gods’ both inwardly and outwardly except for their longevity. All life on Earth, from birds to fishes, flora to algae, and down to bacteria and virises–all have the very same DNA, the four nucleic acid letters from which all genes and genomes are made. The DNA of the Anunnaki was the same as the DNA of all life on Nibiru. The DNA on Earth and the DNA on Nibiru were the same.”

    Click link below

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (

Social Media