Speaker explores evolution of animals, sex and human language
Olivia Judson's work was called a 'Kama Sutra for both humans and animals'
October 20, 2011, 12:24 am · Updated October 20, 2011, 1:14 am·
Ege Ozyegin | DP
Would you go back 65 million years to see the extinction of dinosaurs, or would you travel back four billion years ago to discover how life originated? Olivia Judson, author of the award-winning international bestseller Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation, addressed these possibilities at an event hosted by the Penn Humanities Forum.
“Time Travel Safari,” which was held at the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, welcomed Judson Wednesday night to speak about the evolutionary adaptations of animals and their implications on present-day Earth. Warren Breckman, the director of the Penn Humanities Forum, introduced Judson by comparing her book to a Kama Sutra for both humans and animals.
Judson moved the crowd by introducing the phenomenon of time traveling and alluding to the opportunity of being able to examine the evolution of organisms from any period of the geologic time scale.
While man has yet to travel through time, Judson said that having this capability would unleash many of the mysteries clouding the history of earth. “When I first conceived the concept of time traveling, I had never understood the problems,” she said. She added that time travel would bring to light more evidence on how animals and plants evolved.
For Judson, it would be fascinating to see “fungal plants in the Devonian landscape or T. Rex in the Cretaceous period.” Just as organisms evolved over time, she also hinted at the impact of the evolution of sex and human language on today’s Earth. The crowd responded with a distinctive laugh when Judson questioned, “What was the first sex really like?” Judson thinks it would be exciting to travel back and discover how evolutionary mechanisms like meiosis evolved over the years.
The father of evolution and author of The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin, was an important subject of discussion in Judson’s presentation. “Due to Darwin’s theory of evolution, we are able to make substantiated predictions about the history of our planet,” she concluded.
Andrew Nguyen, a College student in the full auditorium, was captivated by the presentation and expressed interest in Judson’s explanation of the role of evolution on the present-day world. “She explained how random facts about biology are shaped by evolution,” he said.