EO Wilson talks evolution and Richard Dawkins spat

Leading biologist Edward Osborne Wilson has visited the UK to conduct a symbolic breaking of ground at the site of a monument to extinction.

The Mass Extinction Memorial Observatory (MEMO), being built in Portland, Dorset, on the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, will highlight 17,000 species under threat worldwide.

The 85-year-old Harvard professor spoke to BBC Newsnight's Evan Davis about developing theories on evolution and his long-running spat with fellow evolutionary biologist, and Oxford professor, Richard Dawkins.

Prof Wilson said: "There is no dispute between me and Richard Dawkins and there never has been, because he's a journalist.

"Journalists are people that report what the scientists have found and the arguments I've had have actually been with scientists doing research."

After the interview was broadcast, Prof Dawkins tweeted: "I greatly admire EO Wilson & his huge contributions to entomology, ecology, biogeography, conservation, etc. He's just wrong on kin selection."

He added: "Anybody who thinks I'm a journalist who reports what other scientists think is invited to read The Extended Phenotype."

BBC News