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  • The Origin of Tetrapods – Rob Whittlesey – HHMI BioInteractive (2014)

    The Origin of Tetrapods – Rob Whittlesey – HHMI BioInteractive (2014)

    The program takes 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. Tiktaalik means “Little fish in water” in Netsilik Inuit language. Neil Shubin provides a first-hand account of the search for Tiktaalik and the evolution of four-legged animals. The limb structure in Tiktaalik appears as a […]

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  • Picture Wing Fly and Ant Competing for Nectar

    Picture Wing Fly and Ant Competing for Nectar

    A picture wing fly (Delphinium picta) and an ant (Formica palidefulva) are competing for nectar secreted from the extrafloral nectaries of the Passiflora vine (Passiflora incarnata). This short observation was filmed on August 25 2014. Georgia State Botanical Garden, Athens, GA, USA. Here we see multiple overlapping natural history stories. A passiflora vine is being defended by workers of a Formica palidefulva colony. A picture wing fly is sneaking around the vine looking for an opportunity to sip sweet nectar […]

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  • Seed Dispersal Under the Threat of Mustard Bomb –  Michal Samuni-Blank (2012)

    Seed Dispersal Under the Threat of Mustard Bomb – Michal Samuni-Blank (2012)

    Plants evolved diverse ways to disperse their seeds using animals. To give a few specific examples Long-wattled umbrella birds, Toucans and fruit eating bats are known for effective dispersal of palm tree seeds by eating the fruits. These dispersers regurgitate or defecate seeds after flying far away. On the other hand, most fruit eaters are also seed predators. Unlike birds and bats other animals such as agoutis, monkeys, peccaries and tapirs can chew and destroy the very same palm seeds. […]

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  • Horseshoe Crabs Mating in Maine

    Horseshoe Crabs Mating in Maine

    This is a quite rare footage of Atlantic horseshoe crabs (Limulus poyphemus) recorded during high tide about 10:00 am in Recompence Shore, Freeport Maine on May 26th 2010. Mating mostly happens in moonlit nights (romantic animals) on sandy beaches. Here they are mating in broad daylight on a rough pebble beach. External fertilization is one of the ancestral ways to produce offspring however it can be rather costly. Egg production requires more resources compared to sperm. Females therefore need more […]

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  • The Making of a Theory: Darwin, Wallace, and Natural Selection – John Rubin – HHMI (2014)

    The Making of a Theory: Darwin, Wallace, and Natural Selection – John Rubin – HHMI (2014)

    This documentary does it right. The theory of evolution was co-discovered independently by two biologists that lived within the same time period. Darwin and Wallace were well known in their time but Wallace’s name gradually has been overshadowed by Darwin. Today we rarely (almost never) hear the name Alfred Russell Wallace. This documentary does a good job to revive Wallace’s name. Wallace was quite an impressive personality and his life most certainly was inspirational. He knew what “survival” really meant. […]

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  • Wallace in Borneo – Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero – BBC (2013)

    Wallace in Borneo – Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero – BBC (2013)

    The theory of evolution was co-discovered independently by two biologists that lived within the same time period. Darwin and Wallace were well known in their time but Wallace’s name gradually has been overshadowed by Darwin. Today we rarely (almost never) hear the name Alfred Russell Wallace. In the past there have been a few documentaries making a rare attempt to focus on the biography of this very influential biologist including an episode in Jacob Bronowski’s 1973 The Ascent of Man […]

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  • The Forgotten Voyage: Alfred Russel Wallace and His Discovery of Evolution by Natural Selection – Peter Crawford (1983)

    The Forgotten Voyage: Alfred Russel Wallace and His Discovery of Evolution by Natural Selection – Peter Crawford (1983)

    The theory of evolution was co-discovered independently by two biologists that lived within the same time period. Darwin and Wallace were well known in their time but Wallace’s name gradually has been overshadowed by Darwin. Today we rarely (almost never) hear the name Alfred Russell Wallace. In this documentary Peter Crawford directs a dramatization of the events showing the interaction between the two influential scientist. We see Wallace as a determined resilient young naturalist without formal education build a respectable […]

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  • The Ladder of Creation – Jacob Bronowski – BBC (1973)

    The Ladder of Creation – Jacob Bronowski – BBC (1973)

    The theory of evolution was co-discovered independently by two biologists that lived within the same time period. Darwin and Wallace were well known in their time but Wallace’s name gradually has been overshadowed by Darwin. Today we rarely (almost never) hear the name Alfred Russell Wallace. In this documentary Jacob Bronowski makes a rare attempt to focus on the biography of this very influential scientist. He tells Wallace’s story beginning from the early years of his childhood. We see a […]

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  • Human Bot Fly – Piotr Naskrecki (2015)

    Human Bot Fly – Piotr Naskrecki (2015)

    Piotr Naskrecki achieved what many tropical biologists (including the author of this post) tried but failed multiple times: raising a tropical Human bot fly (Dermatobia hominis). This parasite is frequently covered by major TV channels since it is quite gruesome to the unititiated and most certainly attracts viewers. In my opinion this is the best bot fly documentary ever. In the video Dr. Naskrecki outlines the life cycle very well with the calmness of an entomologist without drama. You can […]

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  • A Phorid Parasitoid Fly Attacking Carpenter Ants Tending Aphids

    A Phorid Parasitoid Fly Attacking Carpenter Ants Tending Aphids

    Recorded at the Georgia State Botanical Garden of Athens, GA on August 17th 2014. A carpenter ant (Camponotus spp.) colony nested at the base of a young beech tree (Fagus grandifolia) were tending aphids on the same tree. There is an interestic four level trophic interaction at this one spot forming a food chain. The parasitoid fly feeding on ants who feed on aphids sucking carbohydrate rich sap out of the beech tree: Beech tree > Aphids > Ants > […]

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  • How to Pin a Butterfly – Anshul Fernando (2010)

    How to Pin a Butterfly – Anshul Fernando (2010)

    Pinning insects is a craft perfected by early natural historians. Here you can find five instructional videos recorded by individuals and institutions from different parts of the world. Every recording shows slightly different tools employed but the overall procedure remains the same. Anshul Fernando is a nature artist who has butterfly farms in many countries such as Sri Lanka and India. He cultivates rare butterflies and sells them after pinning. He uses a standard traditional insect pinning set up that […]

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