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    Galápagos giant tortoises. The Galápagos is one of two places in the world where giant tortoises exist. In the wild they can live over 100 years. "As a biologist, getting an outdoor, hands-on experience gave me an appreciation for our greater ecosystem," Yu says. "I study gut microbes, and this class changed my perspective on microbes' relationship with the environment."
    Credit: Courtesy of Nicholas Schiefer
09/15/2016 15:16:58

In the Light of Evolution

"Remember—'Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,'" says Rob Phillips to a group of Caltech undergraduates, as they step out of a small plane onto the Galápagos Islands. Phillips, the Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology, is quoting biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky, whose 1972 essay "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" inspired Phillips and Victoria Orphan, the James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science and Geobiology, to create an evolution course at Caltech. The biannual class, founded in 2014, culminates in a nine-day field trip to the Galápagos—where Charles Darwin first collected evidence for his revolutionary theory of evolution.

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Written by Lori Dajose