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  • Preserving Lonesome George – AMNH (2015)

    Preserving Lonesome George – AMNH (2015)

    Lonesome George was the last male individual of the Pinta Island tortoise. He sadly passed away in his corral at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Galápagos Islands on the morning of June 24 2012. He died from natural causes. Lonesome George became a worldwide icon of conservation. Efforts to breed him at the Galápagos National Park and Charles Darwin Research Station concluded with no success. Thus he became “a living dead” member of his species doomed for extinction. Lonesome […]

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  • PETM – Unearthing Ancient Climate Change – Science Bulletins – AMNH

    PETM – Unearthing Ancient Climate Change – Science Bulletins – AMNH

    Scientists have a few hypotheses but no theory has yet emerged about a significant bio-geological event that happened fifty-five million years ago. What we know for sure was that there was a sudden, enormous influx of carbon that has dissolved in the ocean and atmosphere. As atmospheric CO2 content increased, the average global surface temperature rose 5°C to 9°C (9°F to 16°F). This global warming event is called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) and lasted for 170,000 years. Events triggered […]

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  • Kon-Tiki Expedition – A Test of a Hypothesis for Human Gene Flow (1950)

    Kon-Tiki Expedition – A Test of a Hypothesis for Human Gene Flow (1950)

    Kon-Tiki was a legendary expedition that was carried out in 1947 by Norvegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl. The expedition tested a hypothesis whether Pacific Islands could have been colonized from Americas and thus wanted to demonstrate that waterways were not barriers but means of transportation and gene flow for human populations. Peopling of the Pacific is a fascinating story. The Polynesians were without question the greatest open ocean voyagers in the human history. They built double-hulled canoes and traveled over the […]

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  • Animations of Unseeable Biology – Drew Berry – TED Talk (2011)

    Animations of Unseeable Biology – Drew Berry – TED Talk (2011)

    Drew Berry introduces us to the fascinating world of molecules. Since the invention of X-ray crystallography our depth of understanding the molecular nature of things have skyrocketed. Year 2012 marked the centennial of the discovery of X-ray chrystallography by the Australian physicist William Lawrence Bragg who shared the Nobel Prize with his father in 1915. The technique was so powerful that since its discovery, it generated 28 Nobel Prizes including the discovery of DNA. the famous X-ray chrystallographical image #51 […]

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  • Anole Lizard Aggression – Neil Losin (2011)

    Anole Lizard Aggression – Neil Losin (2011)

    We humans rarely have punch ups with each other to decide who will mate. However, an anole lizards life is frequently interrupted by brawls. Neil Losin is an evolutionary biologist from UCLA who studies aggressive behavior among anole lizards. Anole lizards not only have punch ups among each other (intraspecific aggression) but they also have such interactions with other species (interspecific aggression). This is when things get even more interesting. In less than 10 minutes this documentary outlines the research […]

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  • Bowerbird’s Grand Performance – Life Story – BBC

    Bowerbird’s Grand Performance – Life Story – BBC

    With its retina punishing feather colors this is a spectacular solo mating dance performed by a male bowerbird advertising his male qualities. The independent dilation and contraction of the pupils is a striking part of the choreography at the beginning of the performance. In Humans male brains perceive dilated eyes as a signal for sexual readiness of females. Seeing the exaggerated form here should make us curious about our “inner reptile” since birds and mammals have evolved from independent reptilian […]

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  • Decoding the Chemical Language of Nature – Jing-Ke Weng | TEDxBeaconStreet (2015)

    Decoding the Chemical Language of Nature – Jing-Ke Weng | TEDxBeaconStreet (2015)

    Chemical diversity in nature is bewildering. Repertoire of chemicals in plants is especially rich. A great majority (almost all) of the single-compound drugs have been discovered in plants: salicylic acid (Aspirin), artemisinin (anti-malarial), thebaine (analgesic derived from opium) are just a quick few to spell out. All these chemicals are products of specialized secondary metabolic pathways in plants. Chemical compounds forming specialized metabolites protect plants against various abiotic stresses and mediate an array of interspecies interactions, ranging from seduction of […]

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  • The World’s Fastest Runner – Greg Wilson – National Geographic (2012)

    The World’s Fastest Runner – Greg Wilson – National Geographic (2012)

    A well-designed filming set up to capture the motions of running Cheetahs. Since late MIT professor Doc Edgarton’s time highspeed cameras have evolved wonderfully enabling technical capabilities for producing great slow motion films. In this production the filming crew used a Phantom Flex highspeed recording camera. The following talk by the director Greg Wilson gives us the behind-the-scenes view of the project. The entire set up was constructed on the running alley specially designed for exercising the Cheetahs of Cincinnati […]

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  • Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur – BBC (2016)

    Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur – BBC (2016)

    On February 19th 2016, a replica of the massive Titanosaurus dinosaur discovered in Argentinian Patagonia was unveiled at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. It is continuing to send strong waves of excitement to all natural history enthusiasts worldwide. Based on accurate dating of the volcanic ash surrounding the fossil we now know that the animal lived 100.6 million years ago during the Cretaceous. It belongs to the Sauropod group and yet is the largest ever found. […]

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  • The Day The Mesozoic Died HHMI – Sean B. Carroll (2012)

    The Day The Mesozoic Died HHMI – Sean B. Carroll (2012)

    This is one of the four educational video series by Sean B. Carroll produced for communicating evolution to public with the support of HHMI. Today we know the cause of the disappearance of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period. This knowledge was produced by the meticulous coordinated work of many scientists. The Day The Mesozoic Died focuses on how scientists do the detective work using the scientific method. The discovery that an asteroid struck the Earth 66 […]

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  • How Does the Purple Bacteria Photosynthesize? Beckman Institute-UIUC (2015)

    How Does the Purple Bacteria Photosynthesize? Beckman Institute-UIUC (2015)

    Imagine a time when our young Earth was spinning much faster and days were only 8 hours! Our sun was much cooler and less bright than today. There was no oxygen in the atmosphere. Those were the conditions when first photosynthetic organisms with purple pigments evolved in liquid environments. In this animation we see one such ancestral form of early anoxic photosynthesis taking place in the purple bacteria Rhodobacter sphaeroides in which oxygen is not produced. Life evolved into oxygen […]

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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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  • The Carnivorous Venus Flytrap Plants Can Count – Jennifer Böhm (2016)

    The Carnivorous Venus Flytrap Plants Can Count – Jennifer Böhm (2016)

    Researchers at the University of Würzburg, in Germany have shown for the first time that carnivorous Venus flytrap plants (Dionaea muscipula) have the ability to track time between two stimuli 20 seconds apart precisely. This time keeping ability is a remarkable evolutionary adaptation that minimizes false signals that may lead to unnecessary trap closure. Nature is full of random unexpected events and Venus flytrap survival depends on a reliable trigger mechanism for its trap closure. A sensitive trap closing due […]

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  • Popped Secret: The Mysterious Origin of Corn – Nathan Dappen & Neil Losin – HHMI (2015)

    Popped Secret: The Mysterious Origin of Corn – Nathan Dappen & Neil Losin – HHMI (2015)

    Domestication of plants and animals is a key transformation in recent Human evolutionary history leading to sedentary farming societies. Domestication of Maize particularly followed a different trajectory from the agricultural crops of the old world. This HHMI documentary tells how the ancestral wild grass called Teosinte was domesticated to evolve into Maize. In the old world, most domesticated grasses had a surprisingly similar “first step” that paved the way towards agriculture. In old world grasses including rice, wheat, barley and […]

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  • Evolution Game – North Star Games (2014)

    Evolution Game – North Star Games (2014)

    The concept of evolution is one of the central themes in Nature Documentaries. A review of games designed to teach evolution in Nature Magazine prompted a search for other endeavors. Among the three games reviewed Evolution was evaluated as by far the best. There has been quite a few attempts to introduce evolution in game format. One game called “Life as a Lizard” is adapted as a role play in classroom setting. Another game also explores major tenets of evolutionary […]

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