If you didn't know better, you'd have been forgiven for being suspicious of the timing of the opening of the American Museum of Natural History's (AMNH) exhibit on Darwin in the middle of last month. After all, it was just two weeks after the end of arguments in the high-profile Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School Board case, in which parents sued a school board for trying to introduce intelligent design into science class – an echo of the Scopes Monkey Trial that had put Darwin on trial in 1925.

But the exhibit – the third in a series highlighting scientists following Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci – isn't a reaction to the recent controversy, says the museum's provost of science, Michael Novacek. Work began three years ago. "We were well along when a lot of this controversy seems to have stepped up again," he says.

Still, that hasn't...

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