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  • Parasitoid Wasp (Labena grallator) Ovipositing

    Parasitoid Wasp (Labena grallator) Ovipositing

    Recorded at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD, USA on July 18th 2017. Here you can see a parasitoid Ichneumon wasp (Labena grallator) searching for a prey living inside a dead branch. She uses her antennae to locate the prey and sets out to drill with her ovipositor straight into the wood. She does a few exploratory oviposition exercise before committing to a full injection. At multiple instances the wasp is chased away by ants. Indeed, in the last […]

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  • The Cuckoo – Artur Homan (2013)

    The Cuckoo – Artur Homan (2013)

    In the James Bond movie Spectre there’s a reference to the cuckoo bird in two scenes. The evil villain Spectre leers: “I see you! Cuckoo!” when he detects Bond in the classic evil assembly room scene. In the other scene towards the end of the movie Spectre reveals why he considers Bond as a cuckoo. In order to understand the reference we must know the biology of the Common cuckoo bird (Cuculus canorus). The European common cuckoo is a well […]

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  • Galapagos Finch Evolution – Dan Lewitt – HHMI (2013)

    Galapagos Finch Evolution – Dan Lewitt – HHMI (2013)

    The Galapagos is home to many iconic species. Each are unique on their own and form a case study in evolutionary biology. Darwin’s finches and mocking birds with their striking beak morphology provided the first clues to Darwin in formulating the mechanism of evolution by natural selection. The Galapagos was the origin of the Origin of the Species. Finches in the island of Daphne Major have been studied for more than 40 years by Princeton University scientists Peter and Rosemary […]

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  • Genesis: Final Point – Fernando Gonzalez-I. Sitges (2000)

    Genesis: Final Point – Fernando Gonzalez-I. Sitges (2000)

    Galapagos archipelago occupies a special place in our quest to understand nature. It sits right on the junction of the Pacific ocean current where warm and cold water shifts. The nutrient levels reaching the islands by cold Humboldt current show a drastic decline when warm surface waters engulf the archipelago. The Galapagos lies at the southeast trade winds. When the current shifts the rainfall pattern changes drastically. The

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  • Six Ways to Prepare a Coelacanth – Shelf Life – AMNH (2015)

    Six Ways to Prepare a Coelacanth – Shelf Life – AMNH (2015)

    The Coelecanth was thought to be extinct. Its presence as a living species was discovered in 1938 by Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer. It is an immensely important species for evolutionary biology, especially in understanding tetrapod evolution. The story of the discovery of Coelecanth has been covered by many high profile magazines. Since its discovery from fossil remains the Coelecanth has been considered as the closest example for what could be as our last fish ancestor. This means that, it may have been […]

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  • Your Inner Fish – Neil Shubin – PBS (2014)

    Your Inner Fish – Neil Shubin – PBS (2014)

    Your Inner Fish, is the first installment of a three part PBS series by Neil Shubin. After a quick review of our shared anatomy with the fish and a whirlwind tour along the evolutionary timeline, the program plunges us into the fascinating saga of discovery of the tetrapods that explains how limbs of the terrestrial vertebrates came to be. Watch how the legendary 375 million year old (Devonian) tetrapod fossil Tiktaalik was discovered after a series of adventurous Arctic expeditions. […]

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  • Dingo of the Australia – Adam Geiger (2013)

    Dingo of the Australia – Adam Geiger (2013)

    Dingo (Canis lupus dingo) appears in the archaeological record of Australia at 4230 years before present. They ruled the continent as apex predators together with the now extinct Tasmanian tiger within the last few thousand years. Dingoes successfully colonized the continent spreading into diverse habitats including tropical rainforests, temperate Eucalyptus forests, mountainous highlands and grasslands. The only exception is the dry inhospitable central deserts. Dog domestication is the earliest among other animals going back to 40,000 years ago. The Dingo […]

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  • The Central Dogma of Biology – Kazufumi Watanabe (2008)

    The Central Dogma of Biology – Kazufumi Watanabe (2008)

    Riken Omics Center from Japan presents a well-crafted animation that summarizes one of the most important subjects of biology since 1958. The central dogma is our first systematic approach in understanding nature of the information flow and manufacture of structures within a living cell. The viewer must be warned that the structures in this animation are artistic representations and in reality they look quite different from space ships. For example RNA Polymerase II is one of the most well-studied enzymes […]

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  • Origins of Human Cumulative Culture – UCL (2017)

    Origins of Human Cumulative Culture – UCL (2017)

    Captain James Cook was fascinated by Polynesians’ ability to converse with each other. In Tahiti a high priest named Tupaia got on board and accompanied him along their voyage to Hawaii. Despite the fact that the two islands were separated by more than 2500 miles Tupaia was able to converse perfectly with Hawaiians. In order to maintain a common language these seemingly isolated islands must have been connected by frequent trans-oceanic voyages. Genetical and ecological theory dictates that connectivity is […]

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  • A Day in the Life of an Elite Male Greater Sage-Grouse on the Lek – Marc Dantzker – Cornell Lab of Ornithology (2015)

    A Day in the Life of an Elite Male Greater Sage-Grouse on the Lek – Marc Dantzker – Cornell Lab of Ornithology (2015)

    Here’s another fascinating piece of natural history from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In this series of short observations staff producer and biologist Marc Dantzker breaks down the mating behavior and social interaction of the Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in five sections. Lekking or lek mating is a breeding behavior where males come together in a place and perform competitive displays to impress visiting females. While males do their “hello check me out” dances, females asses their qualities and choose […]

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  • Geological History of the Continents/Paleomap Project –  Christopher Scotese (2015)

    Geological History of the Continents/Paleomap Project – Christopher Scotese (2015)

    Geology and biological evolution of life are inseparable. More than half of the minerals now incorporated into the upper crust of our planet were produced by living organisms. The movement of continental plates has played a fundamental role in the recycling of mineral resources by the biosphere. Scientists now predict that tectonic activity may have been one of the prerequisites for the origin of life. The acceptance of continental drift by the scientific community and how it affected Earth’s history […]

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  • Great White Shark Pup off the Northern Aegean Coast of Turkey

    Great White Shark Pup off the Northern Aegean Coast of Turkey

    Be prepared to hear a fascinating piece of natural history about the Mediterranean great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). Story is fascinating for multiple reasons. First, great whites are one of the most charismatic, vulnerable, cryptic and misunderstood predator fish species. Second, the story takes place in a quite unexpected location. Altınoluk is a town on the northern Aegean coast of Turkey. It is located to the south of Troy on a legendary sea route known as the Argonaut route where […]

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  • Western Ghats Program – CEPF/ATREE (2016)

    Western Ghats Program – CEPF/ATREE (2016)

    India’s Western Ghats is an ecologically unique biodiversity hotspot recognized by the United Nations as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) in association with Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) have been supporting projects by conservationists and researchers in the area. The exceptionally high level of biological diversity and endemism in this mountain chain represents some of the best representatives of non-equatorial tropical evergreen forests in the world. Natural history and evolution […]

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  • Seed Dispersal by Dung Mimicry – Nature (2015)

    Seed Dispersal by Dung Mimicry – Nature (2015)

    Plant-animal interactions have not always evolved to become mutualistic win-win strategies like birds dispersing seeds of palms while feeding on the fruits. Plants can be rather deceptive. They can hijact sensory vulnerabilities of animals. Secondary metabolites such as nicotine, caffeine, codeine can be rather addictive. Plant chemicals can also be used as deterrent. A sub-Saharan desert plant taily weed (Ochradenus baccatus) detonates a mustard bomb in the mouths of seed predators who dare to chew and destroy its seeds. Plant […]

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  • Domestication as a Signature of Human Nature / One Man and His Dog – BBC (1985)

    Domestication as a Signature of Human Nature / One Man and His Dog – BBC (1985)

    Johnny Wilson and his dogs earned their fame when they won BBC2’s One Man and His Dog competition. Here in this short clip we see a remarkable section from the program that highlights a signature of one of the hallmark characters in Human nature: Domestication. Domestication expanded Human abilities beyond the natural boundaries. Note that domestication in animals almost always starts with selection of “behavior”. Using this unintentional primary cue as a starting point Humans in different parts of the […]

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