If a visitor to Earth were to try to assess life's diversity by touring terrestrial biology laboratories, he, she, or it might conclude that the planet is overrun with fruit flies, mice, small plants, tiny transparent worms, and a few types of single-celled inhabitants. That skewed view might be why it's taken more than a century for the field called evo-devo today to have taken off.

It's also why Indiana University distinguished professor Rudolf (Rudy) Raff collects sea urchins from the Australian coast instead of ordering mice from the Jackson Laboratory or flies from the Drosophila stock center right next door. He's been doing so since 1985, along with wife and researcher-in-her-own-right Beth, who takes an annual "maggot sabbatical" to join him.

In February, Rudy Raff was one of eight scientists to receive the Medal of Alexander Kowalevsky from the Council of the St. Petersburg Society of Naturalists in Russia....

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