Dr Menno Schilthuizen

Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Leiden University

Wednesday 08 February 2023, 18.00 sharp

Darwin Comes to Town

Our 2023 program continues, this time in collaboration with the Hellenic Evolutionary Society (HEVOS) of Greece, with a lecture by Prof. Dr Menno Schilthuizen

An established evolutionary biologist at Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Leiden University
(The Netherlands), and an excellent writer of popular science, Dr Schilthuizen is going to talk
about urban biodiversity, a generally neglected aspect of biodiversity he has exploited in his
recent book with the same title (Greek translation published by Crete University Press).

We are marching towards a future in which three-quarters of humans live in cities, and a large portion of the
planet’s landmass is urbanized. With much of the rest covered by human-shaped farms, pasture, and plantations,
where can nature still go? To the cities! And with more and more wildlife carving out new niches among humans,
evolution takes a surprising turn. Urban animals evolve to become more cheeky and resourceful, city pigeons
develop detox-plumage, and weeds growing from cracks in the pavement get a new type of seeds. Thanks to
evolutionary adaptation taking place at unprecedented speed, plants and animals are coming up with new ways
of living in the seemingly hostile environments of asphalt and steel that we humans have created. We are on the
verge of a new chapter in the history of life, a chapter in which much old biodiversity is, sadly, disappearing, but
also one in which a new and exciting set of life forms is being born.

Time: Feb 08, 2023, 18:00 EET


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