An Interview With Jonathan Tweet

Jonathan Tweet is a game designer and author who had authored a very remarkable book for children.   He wasn’t just trying to make evolution and its concepts easier to understand for kids in elementary school, Jonathan was shooting for an even younger audience, an audience more accustomed to Dr. Seuss and Goodnight Moon. Jonathan was hoping to introduce evolution to preschoolers.

It’s a beautiful story and I wanted kids to have something accessible for them. – Jonathan Tweet

The result is Grandmother Fish.  Many of the animals in Grandmother Fish are no longer with us having died out many millions of years ago. Jonathan wanted to reanimate them and remain true to the animal’s nature and what it looked like.  The faces are friendly there. Even when Grandmother Fish is about to make a meal of a sea scorpion there is no malice present. It’s life. And that’s where the true depth of the book opens up. [spp-tweet tweet=”Evolution is about life. This is the story being told as you turn the page.”]

You can learn more about Jonathan Tweet and Grandmother Fish here.

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Music in the Episode

The music in this episode was provided by Podington Bear at soundofpicture.com.

 

Are We Still Evolving?

There are some who say that evolution by natural selection, at least when it applies to you and I, is no longer a driving force. The argument is that we’ve pushed natural selection aside and taken the reign of our own development.  That we are no longer evolving as a species.

Perhaps the way we should look at it is that every advance we make, every thing we do to extend human lives, is natural selection at work. It doesn’t have to be tied to a mutation in our genes, it can be also be tied to the amazing things we create and accomplish.

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Sound Clip Bibliography

  • “1950’s Commercials Borden’s Dairy Products, 1950s.” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oabXQrbRU1o.
  • “Bill Gates: Mosquitos, Malaria and Education.” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsgvhP07BC8.
  • “Fighting Malaria – News Desk (22-4-15).” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eZna4SAX0Y.
  • “Lecture on the Evolutionary Impact of Malaria on Humans.” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnQF2DRjIkg.
  • “Life Finds a Way – Jeff Goldblum – Jurassic Park (1993) Movie Scene.” YouTube. Accessed November 20, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkWeMvrNiOM.
  • “Michio Kaku: Mankind Has Stopped Evolving.” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkuCtIko798.
  • “MilkDoesABodyGood-Milk Commercial from the 1980s – Pre-dates “Got Milk” Commercials.” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hJHbYrmyb4.
  • “News Report: Scientists “create” Malaria Resistant Mosquito.” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCV-JN5GRhU.
  • “PT 2 The Three Stooges In Busy Buddies.” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwdnYHL4A7U.

Music in the Episode

The music in this episode was provided by Podington Bear at soundofpicture.com and Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

 

Your Brain

Over the course of billions of years a small region of specialized cells began to develop sensory organs. These light-sensitive cells slowly developed into eyes. Behind them another organ began to develop. A centralized structure of highly specialized cells that control everything. A command center that sits near the photo-sensitive cells, receiving information, and passing it along.

As time passed the organisms that developed these structures became more complex. They had to in order to survive. As cells changed and mutated, those changes that were of a benefit persisted. Especially when the organism began to move away from the environment it had spent its first few billion years in, and onto dry land.

This specialized cell region was an early beta version of our brain. A 570 million old beta version. We can now refer to it as the hindbrain. It’s still there, buried beneath everything else that has developed to become your brain today.

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Sound Clip Bibliography

  • “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human.” YouTube. Accessed November 14, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69ckWLrvVhg.
  • “The Human Brain 1955 Encyclopaedia Britannica Films.” YouTube. Accessed November 14, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQCZPCgEKmc.
  • “Robin Dunbar on Evolution.” YouTube. Accessed November 14, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HHejf9Q8Lg.
  • “Robin Dunbar on Evolution.” YouTube. Accessed November 14, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HHejf9Q8Lg.

Music in the Episode

The music in this episode was provided by Podington Bear at soundofpicture.com

 

Homo Naledi

The “Evolution Talk’ podcast is joined once again by its favorite guest from the NCSE, Stephanie Keep.

In 2013 a secret that had been hidden for hundreds of thousands of years in a South African cave was discovered.  Bones…  many bones.  Upon inspection by a team of specialists a picture began to emerge.  Not a clear picture but one which has unearthed more questions than answers.  At the center of it all is a new species of hominin – Homo Naledi.

Among the questions that are being asked:

  • How old are the bones?
  • How did they get there?
  • Do they truly represent a new species?
  • How smart were the Homo Naledi?

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Subscribe to the show in iTunes or Stitcher (Please leave a comment and rating. It will help the show immensely.  Thank you!)

Links Mentioned

Music in the Episode

The music in this episode was provided by Podington Bear at soundofpicture.com and Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

 

The Evolution of Music

There is no denying the power of music. But why does it have this power? It’s not the same as language. It’s deeper than that.  A piece of music can bring you back in time to a point in your past when you were happy, sad, or simply content.  Is music nothing more than auditory cheesecake as psychologist Dr Steven Pinker once described it?

In this episode of Evolution Talk we take a look at some of the theories which have attempted to trace the evolution of music, from Charles Darwin to philosopher Daniel Dennett.

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Subscribe to the show in iTunes or Stitcher (Please leave a comment and rating.  It will help the show immensely.  Thank you!)

Sound Clip Bibliography

  • “Aniruddh Patel – Music And Biological Evolution.” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed November 10, 2015. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvkqpnk_ukc+lilworks.
  • “Daniel Dennett – Evolution Of Language and Music.” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed November 10, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eofdtdjrses.
  • “Mischa Maisky Plays Bach Cello Suite No.1 in G (Full).” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed November 10, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgqlxrtl3z0&list=plnmvuwzfw3kuweowucko7p1bh3m7cnh51.
  • “Which Came First: Language Or Music?” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed November 10, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8eovaghnxg+fora.tv.

Music in the Episode

The music in this episode was provided by Podington Bear at soundofpicture.com and DoKashiteru featuring BillRayDrums. Licensed under Creative Commons

 

Math and Maupertuis

Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis loved math.  It was as essential to life as the air we breathe.  But math wasn’t the only thing that fascinated Maupertuis. Life did. Or, to be more specific, the origin and evolution of life. Math may hold the keys to unlocking the secrets of the universe, but, when it came to the secrets of life, its keys didn’t quite fit.  If there was a creator, finding the keys to his work had to involve careful study of the facts and an examination of the natural world with critical eyes.

Maupertuis considered the entire history of the planet while writing about the transmutation of species.  His ideas would be echoed 114 years later when Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species.

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Subscribe to the show in iTunes or Stitcher (Please leave a comment and rating.  It will help the show immensely.  Thank you!)

Music in the Episode

The music in this episode was provided by Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0