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itty bitty dinosaurs

Recently I’ve discovered podcasts and one that I particularly like is Radiolab. According to their own website Radiolab is:

    …where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow…

The style is something you will either love or loathe – personally, I’m in favour.

One episode I listened to recently that stuck with me is entitled Tell Me a Story and simply consists of a speech given by Robert Krulwich, one of the regular show hosts, at a prestigious US science institute, in which he expounds on why scientists should endeavor to be better story-tellers. He illustrates his point with a tale about why birds are, in fact, itty bitty modern day dinosaurs.

It was with this in mind that I encountered the resident pair of scarlet macaws, a species of bird that may well soon go the way of their gargantuan ancestors, at Finca Ixobal. These birds are seriously endangered in the wild although I was lucky enough to see a pair in Chiapas, Mexico, last year near a macaw sanctuary. Apart from a precipitous decline in their natural habitat, the major pressure on these creatures comes from poachers who steal the fledglings from their nests to sell as pets.

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{ 6 } Comments

  1. Melda | January 29, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    I’ve started listening to Radiolab too, and the only problem I’ve found so far is that I put it while doing something else, then realise the something else is not getting done!

  2. Seth dominguez | February 2, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    May I suggest ttbook? (to the best of our knowledge). It sounds like something similar.

    Hope you are well.

  3. anna | February 2, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Hi Seth, To the Best of Our Knowledge is on my listening list, too. It is also pretty good.

    Have you set off on your Vera Cruz tour yet?

  4. Bill Graves | February 16, 2011 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Great to read that you survived the fox-bite and doing well. Thanks for the reference to Radiolab. Very interesting.
    You might also enjoy
    http://www.themoth.org/
    Interesting and true 15 minute stories told by the person who experienced them.
    Bill in Cuernavaca

  5. anna | February 16, 2011 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Hey Bill

    The Moth is another one that is on my listening list. It is a bit hit and miss but it’s pretty good a lot of the time.

    Hope all is well in Cuernavaca.

  6. Will Kemp | April 1, 2011 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Yeah, it seems that the people who know about these things reckon that birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs. However, not all dinosaurs were big – there were very small ones too. I don’t know if it’s because the bones of the big ones fossilised better and therefore there are more of them around or if it’s just that big ones are more spectacular and therefore get more press, but the little ones seem to be pretty much unknown.

    On a similar note, we (non-Africans) are, apparently, directly descended from neanderthals – but in the popular media they’re always referred to as being extinct and being our “distant relations”. Even New Scientist, which carried an article about how a significant proportion of our DNA comes from neanderthals, refers to them as our “cousins”, rather than our ancestors, and talks about them having died out.

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