Welcome to the Companion Website for
The Readable Darwin: The Origin of Species As Edited for Modern Readers
This website is a companion to the textbook The Readable Darwin by Jan A. Pechenik, published by Sinauer Associates.
Below are all of the links and videos referenced in each chapter of the book. Click a link to open it in a new window.
Link 1 With the following link, you can see all of the changes that Darwin made for each of the six editions of The Origin of Species.
Link 2: For more information about the historic Wallace–Darwin joint presentation concerning the origin of species by means of natural selection, on July 1, 1858, see the following link:
1.1 A very nice summary of Lamarck’s ideas about the causes of evolutionary change
1.2 A list of all of the American Kennel Club recognized dog breeds, including photos
1.3 The orange pippin website lists many of the 7,500 apple varieties presently in existence around the world
2.1 Interesting information about primroses and other plants with dimorphic or trimorphic flowers, and why Darwin was so interested in them
2.2 A brief summary of the difficulties in defining species
3.1 Read about the five mass extinctions that have occurred on Earth in ancient times
3.2 Read an interview with Elizabeth Kolbert, who has published a book (2014) called The Sixth Extinction (Henry Holt and Co., publishers), about some of things that have been happening recently to natural populations of many organisms around the world
3.3 You can listen to another interview with Elizabeth Kolbert, courtesy of NPR
4.1 Bird-of-Paradise Project from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
4.3 Platypus on land and in water
4.6 Natural selection and adaptation in pocket mice
4.1 The evolution of four-footed terrestrial animals from aquatic ancestors
4.2 More information (with photographs) about the spurs on rooster legs
4.3 Darwin and Wallace papers presented at the Linnean Society
5.1 Differences in appearance and behavior in male and female pheasants
5.1 Sexual dimorphism in a number of animals, including birds
5.2 Stripes appearing on donkeys, mules, and horses
5.3 600 horse breeds, including those mentioned by Darwin
6.2 Flying lemurs in Borneo
6.9 An orchid explosion
7.1 An echinoderm pedicellaria in action
7.1 Basic information about bryozoans and their avicularia. Click the link about half-way down the page to see a video of avicularia in action.
7.2 Interesting information about the pedicellariae of sea urchins and sea stars, including videos of these structures in action.
8.1 The role of physical forces in helping bees to build the honeycomb’s hexagonal cells
8.2 Here is a detailed description of how Darwin came to understand the process by which bees build their honeycombs, based upon his correspondence with many other researchers
8.3 Answering a 2,000-year-old question about bees in an amusing way: Why hexagons?
8.4 Fascinating recent evidence that some behavioral learning may be passed along to offspring, through the modified expression of existing genes (based on Dias and Ressler. 2014. Nature Neuroscience 17: 89–96).