“Everyone should find his own Darwin,” Mr. Milner says. “The man was so large. He was a zoologist, a botanist, an explorer, a travel writer, a philosopher, an abolitionist, a doting father, a radical intellectual revolutionary with an utterly conservative and blemish-free lifestyle. He revolutionized every field he touched, and he was trained in none of them.”
O.K., he was large. Granted, there are many Darwins to find. But until Mr. Milner came along, no one had ever found Darwin the Singing Comedian. There were not a lot of laughs in “On the Origin of Species,” and its author said that just the thought of public speaking made him sick to his stomach. He had such bad stage fright that he asked someone else to read his landmark paper to the Linnean Society.
Somehow, though, Mr. Milner has turned the shy naturalist into a suavely bemused performer doing patter songs about trilobites, garfish and tortoise shells. (You can see excerpts at nytimes.com/science.)
My Darwin song will be up on or before Darwin Day, this Thursday.