Darwin Day e-card – but I prefer a tree

By Grant Jacobs 12/02/2011

The American Humanist Society is offering Darwin Day e-cards that you can email to friends. (Hat-tip: @StacyCBaker).

It’s fun idea, but one uses that darn linear iconography again:


Fellow science blogger, Alison, has written about this issue previously. (See also the video Alison has up for this year’s Darwin Day.)

The e-card presents the evolution of man as a linear series of steps.

What about a tree?


Evolution is on-going diversification, with each variant (sub-species, species) surviving in a particular environment (niche), with variants dying off from time to time.

A linear series of steps doesn’t convey this.

While it’s great to promote Darwin Day, ideally it’d be good to avoid the use of this linear iconography. It’s more subtle, but it’d convey something closer to what evolution is ‘about’.

Other articles on Code for life:

Understanding the brain through controlling it

Beauty in biology – green fluorescent protein

A short not-a-post about that Xmas card

Capturing bodies – medical imaging data

Transcribing a gene, free poster