Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Evolution

Spring 2007

Bright plumage against green foliage: the grandeur and beauty of evolution

“Art can be considered as a behavior . . . like play, like food sharing, like howling, that is, something humans do because it helps them to survive, and to survive better than they would without it.” —Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why, Ellen Dissanayake ’57

I open my hand and the little wren, momentarily startled by its newfound freedom, flutters quickly to the nearest bush. I stand in the hot tropical Australian sun and watch as the tiny bird flits from branch to branch, a black- and red-feathered jewel. I have just captured this little bird, collected a page full of data … » More …

Winter 2002

A bizarre, slimy animal shows its stuff

Without jaws, most vertebrates-including us-would be stuck hanging around in the ocean or on the ground, unable to bite and scooping up or filtering food. We’d also be smaller. Instead, we’re fearsome predators and herbivores, with big brains and an infinite range of food sources. We have evolution to thank for our fortune-and  Jon Mallatt to thank for helping us appreciate the fact.

“The evolution of jaws a half billion years ago was the single most important factor in the success of vertebrates,” says Mallatt, associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences and in basic medical sciences.

Mallatt began his study of the evolution … » More …

Spring 2004

On the origin of species—again

Everyone calls them genius awards, except the foundation that gives them. When describing recipients of its annual $500,000 grants, the MacArthur Foundation avoids “genius”-rather, says the Foundation, MacArthur Fellows are people who transcend boundaries, take risks, and synthesize disparate ideas and approaches. That’s a dead-on definition of Loren Rieseberg (’87 Ph.D. Botany), an evolutionary biologist at Indiana University Bloomington who received a MacArthur Fellowship in October 2003.

When Rieseberg arrived at Washington State University in 1984 to pursue his doctorate, he was a model student, energetic and eager, recalls his advisor and former WSU professor, Douglas Soltis, now at University of Florida. Soltis handed him … » More …

Fall 2002

An expert on human evolution, a long-distance driver

Grover S. Krantz, world-renowned anthropologist and longtime Washington State University professor, died on February 14, 2002 in Port Angeles, Washington after an  eight-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Professor Krantz, or Grover, as everyone knew him, was born November 5, 1931, in Salt Lake City. He obtained a B.A. and M.A. in anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley.

After receiving his doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 1968, Grover came to the Department of Anthropology at WSU in 1968. When he came to Pullman, Grover planned to spend a “couple of years at WSU.” Those couple of years turned into 30, until he … » More …