Last night Sir David Attenborough, broadcaster, octogenarian, and hero to naturalists everywhere, gave the capstone lecture for the American Natural History Museum's celebration of Alfred Russell Wallace's centenary. The standing ovation lasted almost as long as the talk.
Sir David focused on Wallace's commitment to and interest in the natural world, specifically the birds-of-paradise that led to both his theory of natural selection and the development of the Wallace Line, what we now know to be patterns of biodiversity based on continental shifts and drifts. The talk featured Sir David's plainspoken-ness, occasional malapropism, and absolutely infectious enthusiasm. If we hadn't had to go home and feed our cat, we'd probably still be clapping.