DragonflyIssuesInEvolution13 Wiki

Leigh Van Valen

August 1935-October 2010

An American evolutionary biologist most famous for his Red Queen's Hypothesis.  He was also professor emeritus at the University of Chicago in the department of ecology and evolution.

Interesting Facts[]

1. Van Valen attended Miami University of Ohio for his undergraduate degree and Columbia for his graduate work. 

2. He worked with Theodosius Dobzhansky at Columbia who is most famous for his essay, "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution."

3. He wrote a collection of biology-themed songs to better teach concepts to students.

Red Queen's Hypothesis[]

An evolutionary concept explaining that all species must constantly evolve just to maintain the "status quo".  The name given to this hypthothesis is from Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass," when the Red Queen says to Alice, "...it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place."


Leigh VanValen. (1973). "A new evolutionary law". Evolutionary Theory 1: 1—30