Friday, February 12, 2016

'Your Inner Fish' for Darwin Day

Happy Darwin Day!  To celebrate the occasion, I'm sharing four clips from the PBS show "Your Inner Fish."  I alluded to them at the conclusion of Snow Monkeys and Emmy Awards: Student sustainability video festival 47.
The other PBS show that captured my attention by winning was "Your Inner Fish," which won Outstanding Graphic Design & Art Direction.  I featured some of the clips from that program in Teeth and jaws of our inner fish.  Congratulations to this program, other clips of which I show to my students as part of my lecture on primate evolution, thus making this entry a fitting end to a month devoted to lessons.
Here are the clips I show my students, beginning with Meet Your Cousins: Squirrel Monkeys.

Because of our evolutionary relationship, we have quite a bit in common with other living primates, including squirrel monkeys. See what we mean as you watch these agile monkeys navigate their forest world.
Follow over the jump for the rest of the videos I use to demonstrate our relationships to other primates.

I work my way up through time, beginning with our monkey-like ancestors in Finding the Orgins of Human Color Vision.

The ability to see the world in color is one most people take for granted. But our earliest primate ancestors lacked this ability. When and how did we gain the ability to see the world the way we do? Neil Shubin pays a visit to vision expert Jay Neitz to learn where our color vision comes from.
I then move from monkeys to apes with How Do We Know When Our Ancestors Lost Their Tails?

Unlike most primates, apes don't have a tail. When did our ancestors lose this potentially useful appendage? Paleoanthropologist Holly Dunsworth introduces us to Proconsul, a fossil ape that gives us some answers.
I conclude with the transition from other apes to our hominid ancestors with Your Aching Back.

The shape of our backs keeps us balanced when we walk on two legs, but it comes at a cost. Anatomist Bruce Latimer shows how our transition to being exclusively bipedal has led to many common back ailments.
The graphics really are amazing.  The first time I showed these clips, they kept the students rapt.  The second time, not so much.  Let's hope the videos win two out of three this summer when I teach this class again.

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