The special exhibition ‘evolution happens!’ was on display at the Zoological Museum of the University of Zurich from June 15 to November 2021, and from January 4 to February 27, 2022. It presented examples from wildlife biology, agriculture and medical science that exemplify how the rapid (genetic) diversification of individuals within populations shapes our everyday life making evolution perceptible around us.
Key messages of the exhibition:
- Evolution is a two-stage process: Evolutionary processes influence the survival and reproduction success of individuals and thus change the genetic composition of an entire population.
- Evolution can be a rapid process: It is observable not only over millions of years, but right here and right now.
- Evolution is never completed and not directional, evolution does not signify optimization.
The modular setup of the exhibition is available for loan to interested exhibitors. For further information please contact us via email or phone (+41 44 634 82 19).
The contents of the exhibition were developed in collaboration with our URPP and several of the topics featured in ‘evolution happens!’ are actively investigated by members of the URPP Evolution:
Using findings from research on pathogen evolution, Alexandros Sotiropoulos demonstrates the evolutionary race between wheat and its fungal parasite wheat powdery mildew. Evolutionary aspects in the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria are explained with support from Rolf Kümmerli. How the interplay between pollinators and flowers shapes entire ecosystems is shown using research examples from Léa Franchon. Christine Grossen describes, why and how the reintroduction of the Alpine ibex to Switzerland caused today’s Alpine ibex population to struggle with distinct genetic shortcomings. Finally, in the outro animation, Urs Greber highlights the role of evolutionary processes in the progress of the corona pandemic.