Evolution – and human evolution in particular – is a subject I think is often under represented in our culture. Schools typically talk about it no more than any other biological topic – despite the fact it’s the theory which holds the entire field together – and museums often only contain passing homages to the subject. Even the Natural History Museum in London, home of all things evolution, only has a handful of glass cases documenting our species’ history1.
That’s why I’m excited to tell you about Grandmother Fish; a book which promises to (partially) right this wrong. It’s the first of it’s kind: a book that introduces young children to evolution! Aimed at 2-3 year olds, this book traces the history of life, all the while showing how this has influenced our own bodies. It’s going on Kickstarter in a few weeks; but in the meantime you can download a free copy from the website. Print it off and show it to any 2-3 year olds you might know, the author is eager to here any feedback. Even if you don’t have ready access to small children, it’s worth checking out.
Personally, I’m interested to hear how people respond to it too. I teach people (including children) about human evolution at my local museum using a similar tactic. People are fascinated by their own bodies, so are normally very receptive to learning about them. From there it’s really easy to transition into talking about how body parts evolved, keeping their interest and making the story of evolution about them at the same time. Giving someone a chance to hold a femur, the biggest bone in the human body, is only a short hop from talking about the evolution of bipedalism and how it’s influenced their legs.
So here’s that link again: click it!
- Although currently they have a temporary exhibit documenting humans in Britain over the past million years. It’s top notch, and if you’re in London I’d recommend checking it out.