Leporid Natural History

Island Approach (for Mayr)

2010

two-color lithograph with hand coloring

16 ¾" x 25 ½"

Island Approach (for Mayr) – In 1928, Ernst Mayr led an expedition to New Guinea to observe and collect the birds of the island. As he looked over his finds, he discovered the phenomenon of geographic speciation, in which geographic features act as a barrier, (in the case of New Guinea, the mountain chain that runs diagonally through the middle of the island) isolating populations, and the subsequent sub-populations evolve into separate species. This can be seen in the similarities and differences of the Genus Paradisaea, pictured left to right: Paradisaea rubra, Paradisaea apoda, Paradisaea minor and Paradisaea raggiana. Mayr went on to become a major proponent of the “New Synthesis” in biology, which tied together classic observational natural history with population genetics and evolutionary biology.

J. Cartledge

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