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Uploaded on Mar 4, 2011
In celebration of Charles Darwin's birthday, Professor Zimmer discussed the work of one of Darwin's great followers, the late Stony Brook University biologist and faculty emeritus George Williams, who died in September 2010. The internationally renowned Williams demonstrated how natural selection could help make sense of every stage in the lives of all living things, including humankind — from birth through childhood to adulthood and finally old age and death. As a result of these seminal ideas, an important new discipline is emerging: evolutionary medicine. Dr. Williams laid out his ideas in 1966 in his book "Adaptation and Natural Selection." In it he clarified an issue at the heart of evolutionary theory: whether natural selection works by favoring the survival of elements as small as a single gene or its components, or by favoring those as large as a whole species.