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time lapse: The ascent of man

Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was published 140 years ago this month, in November 1859. A relatively short, populist work, it was penned in a hurry to beat the publication of a rival tome. It immediately became a bestseller, and it is Darwin's name which is now for ever associated with evolutionary theory. Chinese-born Daniel Lee's digitally morphed Origin (right), currently on show in Portugal, is an imaginative and, as he confesses, a not-altogether scientific expression of Darwin's ideas, charting an evolutionary journey from the rare Coelacanth fish through reptile and ape to human. There are no immediate plans to show Lee's work in Kansas, however, where the State Board of Education decided in August to purge references to evolution from the school curriculum, the latest victory in the battle being waged in the US by the Creationists, religious fundamentalists who deny the evidence of fossils and species variation to assert the literal truth of Genesis. Ironically, Darwin himself, who agonised about the profound implications for Christianity of his work, is buried in Westminster Abbey.

To find out more about Daniel Lee, visit www.daniellee.com