Recent Videos

  • When and Why We Lost Hair?

    When and Why We Lost Hair?

    When and why our ancestors began to wear clothing is a curious story. Clothing may have emerged for insulation of body heat. Similarly it also have provided a means to carry things and improve mobility. Cold snaps engulfed the earth many times. Using ice cores from Antarctica scientists identified 8 glacial cycles within the last 800 thousand years alone. An archaelogical site from Israel provides the earliest evidence of controlled fire by humans spanning the same time period. We know […]

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  • Why Societies Collapse? – Jared Diamond (2003)

    Why Societies Collapse? – Jared Diamond (2003)

    Jared Diamond examines how societies collapse in a five-point framework: [1] Impact on environment, [2] Climate change, [3] Relations with friendly neighbors, [4] Relations with unfriendly neighbors, [5] Perception and resolution of environmental problems. Diamond is the author of  a Pulitzer prize winner book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, published in 1997. He seeks to explain Eurasian hegemony throughout history. Using evidence from ecology, archaeology, genetics, linguistics, and distinct historical case studies, he argues that the differences in social structure and technology among human societies do […]

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  • The Botany of Desire – Michael Pollan – PBS (2009)

    The Botany of Desire – Michael Pollan – PBS (2009)

    Domestication is a defining feature of recent human evolution. In animals first trait selected by humans was behavior. In plants harvestability through selection of non-shattering seeds was the first trait of domestication. Plant domestication paved the way to agriculture which enabled highly specialized sedentary human societies. Domesticated plants differ from their wild ancestors in distinct ways that can be categorized under a term called as the domestication syndrome. Domestication syndrome includes reduced shattering of seeds (seeds don’t separate from the […]

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  • The Passionate Wait

    The Passionate Wait

    In the second part of the passion flower series events before the opening of the flowers are outlined. Drought conditions in summer of 2011 made extrafloral nectaries of the plant a very busy place. The water budget of the plants is strongest early in the morning. Flowers do not open until the middle of the day. At first, passion flower is generous to the ants in the morning providing ample volume of nectar. On the other hand, pollinators remain hungry. […]

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  • Ants – Nature’s Secret Power (2006)

    Ants – Nature’s Secret Power (2006)

    Ants, bees and wasps make up only 3 percent of animal diversity yet they may constitute up to 50 percent of the total animal biomass in land habitats. Bert Hölldobler is a leading entomologist (scientist who studies insects). He collaborated with ant biologist E.O. Wilson and developed the field of Sociobiology. The documentary does an excellent job introducing us observations coming from both natural and laboratory setting. First observation comes from the European red wood ants (Formica polyctena). These ants […]

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  • Nesting Nightjar in Camouflage

    Nesting Nightjar in Camouflage

    This is an excellent footage capturing the behavior of a ground nesting nightjar. These birds are night-flying aerial insectivores active during dusk and dawn. It is almost impossible to see them during the day because of their camouflage. Nightjars are also known as goatsuckers which has no biological basis. If an intruder comes dangerously close to the nest, adults perform a well-known “broken wing” display. It is an excellent visual distraction. The bird will easily disappear soon after the intruder is at a […]

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  • Red wasp hunting grasshopper.

    Red wasp hunting grasshopper.

    These sequences were captured on May 14th 2010 in Athens, GA, USA. Young grasshopper nymphs (Romalea microptera) all emerged together as a brood were hanging out on a plant (Galium spp.). There were 17 of them. Red wasp (Polistes carolina) began hovering over for a couple of minutes and attacked one of them. The wasp began eating by chewing the abdomen first and later flew over to the top of a kudzu vine (Pueraria montana) to eat the rest. Although […]

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  • Daytime Hunting of Barred Owl (Strix varia)

    Daytime Hunting of Barred Owl (Strix varia)

    On April 16th 2011, a barred owl glided over my head while I was filming something else along the Orange Trail of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens, GA. Hunting during daytime indicates that this individual has extra mouths to feed. You can hear the altruistic alarm calls of other nervous birds and rodents. The high pitched alarm call (of a chipmunk?) is particularly audible immediately before each move of the owl. I deliberately kept the scenes long […]

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  • Acid Attack

    Acid Attack

    Wildflowers can build a community of allies for defence. Ants defend extrafloral nectaries (nectar produced in organs other than flowers) of a passion flower vine against herbivores. This is an example of plant-animal interaction evolved to solve at least three biological problems. [1] Extrafloral nectaries seen in this video resemble butterfly eggs.  Butterflies avoid laying their eggs on host plants if they see other eggs. This is particularly true for two species of butterflies Gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) and Variegated […]

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  • Before Mars – Novo Mundo (Episode I) – National Geographic (2016)

    Before Mars – Novo Mundo (Episode I) – National Geographic (2016)

    A defining feature of Human nature is exploration. We are hard wired with curiosity. It instinctively drives us to wonder what is behind the next hill. On planetary scale the Moon and the Mars are the nearest objects of interest in this endeavor. In this half-dramatized docu-feature film the National Geographic is aiming to inspire explorers that will colonize Mars. The mini-series takes place both in the future and in the present day. Episodes include interviews with influential people in […]

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