MSU Museum showcases evolution in action in new series of west gallery exhibits

Evolution is happening around us in an observable way: that is the focus of a new series of exhibits at the Michigan State University (MSU) Museum.

The MSU Museum has a new gallery, Evolution in Action, that explores evolution of biological systems and technologies — evolution in living things, and also in computers and engineering. A new exhibit, “50,000” reveals an ongoing experiment, headed by Richard Lenski, Hannah Distinguished Professor of Microbial Ecology, where scientists have observed bacteria growing, competing, and evolving for 50,000 generations in only 23 years.

Another Evolution in Action exhibit in the west gallery explores the evolution of social behaviors in hyenas as they cooperate, form coalitions and compete with lions. Future exhibits could include topics such as evolving robots that develop ever-more sophisticated collaborative behavior.

For this new exhibit series, the MSU Museum has introduced a new approach to exhibit-making: components that are designed to be modular, for placement at the museum and easily reproducible for installation in other locations. MSU Museum educators expect the exhibit adaptations to be developed and circulated around the partner universities as well as other learning centers in an effort to help advance public understanding of science.

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