What could be a more ordinary sight than the robin, the red-breasted bird that hops around on the ground, yanking worms out of the dirt? Go out with a bunch of birdwatchers on a cold day near dawn and you’ll hear a sigh of disappointment when a bird in the distance turns out to be a boring old robin.
But Arkhat Abzhanov, associate professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University, wonders: Have you ever really looked at a robin? What shape is its beak? What about its head?