THE TRUTH ABOUT THE PEPPERED MOTH

October 2007

You all probably learnt about the peppered moth (Biston betularia) being an example of evolution by natural selection. The melanic (dark) form increased in frequency with the industrial revolution. A few years ago, doubts were cast on some of the experiments, and were seized upon by creationists to suggest that the whole story was rubbish. Prof Mike Majerus of Cambridge has now repeated the experiments, and is about to publish his confirmation of the original story. There’s a terrific interview with Majerus and my pal Jerry Coyne, who was partly responsible for the broohaha, on this week’s Material World (Radio 4), describing the debate and its resolution. Listen to the interview here (click on “listen again”…). Mike Majerus’ website is here, contains transcripts and Powerpoint slides.

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Filed under Evolution, Insects

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