Why Do Humans Have Thumbs and Not Fins? Biology Education Paleontology Videos 

Why Do Humans Have Thumbs and Not Fins?

Did you know we can trace the evolution of our hands, and thumbs, back to a 375 million-year-old fish called Tiktaalik? Watch this video with paleontologist and geneticist Dr. Neil Shubin to learn what a fish and a little blue hedgehog can teach us about the evolution of thumbs. This is a video from Dr. Joe Hanson’s It’s Okay To Be Smart series.     Tiktaalik is a 375 years-old fish with fins. When we look under its fin rays and take off the scales, what we find are versions of our…

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language detectives Videos 

Language Detectives

Where did the Uto-Aztecan language originate? An interdisciplinary research project looked at a set of 100 words to understand the sound sequences of this language. Watch this video to see how an anthropologist and a computational biologist carried out this research. This is another in the Shelf Life series from the American Museum of Natural History. Museum curators Peter Whiteley, an anthropologist, and Ward Wheeler, a computational biologist, joined forces to trace the evolution of Native American languages by applying gene-sequencing methods to historical linguistics. I became fascinated by the idea…

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Math structures the world around us Education Technology Videos 

Math Structures the World around Us

From Google searches to sunflowers’ structures, we can look at and understand the world around us through the lens of math. Watch this video by Techsploration to know more about the critical skills you can develop by studying math. Math can not only help us understand the structure of the world around us but also lead to many job opportunities, from epidemiology to finance and from business to teaching. The cool thing about math is that it’s all around us. Whether you realize it or not, you are using math and…

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The Salamander-Algae Symbiotic Relationship Animals Biology Videos 

Shelf Life Video: The Salamander-Algae Symbiotic Relationship

What happens inside a Salamander egg? How does the embryo interact with its environment? Find out in this video, which is another in the Shelf Life series from the American Museum of Natural History.   Scientists collect Salamander egg masses to investigate the symbiotic relationship between embryos and algae. The two organisms exchange substances that help each other to thrive in their environment. Researchers are increasingly interested in how the microorganisms that are inside and on our bodies interact with us throughout the course of our lives and affect our physiology. GotScience…

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Dinosaurs of Ghost Ranch Animals Paleontology Videos 

Shelf Life Video: The Dinosaurs of Ghost Ranch

Dinosaurs’ fossils have attracted paleontologists to the Badlands of Ghost Ranch, NM, since 1881. Here, they have found the best place to find early carnivorous dinosaurs in the world. This video is another in the Shelf Life series from the American Museum of Natural History.   After being unearthed, dinosaurs’ bones are very delicate, and paleontologists need to take really good care of them. Once they are safely brought to the Museum of Natural History, they are ready to be analyzed. By looking at dinosaurs’ fossils, researchers can figure out…

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Shelf Life Video: Time Travel to Stars Astronomy Videos 

Shelf Life Video: Time Travel to Stars

With the help of high school students, scientists at The American Museum of Natural History are creating an online catalog of stars’ distances and relative positions. This video is another in the Shelf Life series from the American Museum of Natural History.   Since the early 17th century, thanks to the use of telescopes, astronomers have been able to draw detailed star maps. However, because the Earth wobbles on its axis, today we see the stars in a slightly different position than in the past. So, students and scientists are…

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Screening Biodiversity Animals Biology Environment Videos 

Shelf Life Video: Screening Biodiversity

Scientists at The American Museum of Natural History explain why managing biodiversity is a key component in managing endangered species. This video is another in the Shelf Life series from the American Museum of Natural History. Even though one and a half million species of organisms have already been named and described, they represent just a tiny portion of the biodiversity of our planet. Having a distinct genetic identity is important because more variation tends to be better in the face of the changing world. And when populations get small and isolated…

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Bats, Cuba Animals Videos 

Shelf Life Video: Into the Island of Bats

The island of Cuba is a key piece of the puzzle for two researchers who are studying bats and trying to understand biodiversity in the Caribbean. Find out why on an expedition with mammalogists J. Angelo Soto-Centeno and Gilberto Silva Taboada, joined by Ana Luz Porzecanski, director of the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation.   Shelf Life videos are shared by agreement with the American Museum of Natural History. GotScience Magazine kindly reminds you to not touch wild bats. Learn more about bat-human virus transmission. “We have evidence at a…

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Shelf Life Video: Fossils in the Gobi Desert Paleontology Videos 

Shelf Life Video: Fossils in the Gobi Desert

It’s been nearly a century since the Museum began their explorations of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert—a vast and imposing landscape that occupies an unparalleled space in the scientific record. The American Museum of Natural History gives some background on the Gobi Desert expeditions: One of the world’s richest locations for dinosaur, lizard, and mammal fossils, it was discovered in 1993 by a team that included Curators Mark Norell (now Macaulay Curator and Chair of the Division of Paleontology) and Mike Novacek (now Provost of Science at the Museum), and visited by…

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global warming Environment Videos 

Global Warming: What’s Really Warming the Earth?

Dr. Joe Hanson explores the possible causes of global warming in this episode of It’s Okay To Be Smart.   References and Further Reading July 2016 is hottest on record NOAA’s State of the Climate July 2016 Bloomberg’s climate change data viz project Solar activity and temperature show opposite trend Milankovitch cycles (I left out eccentricity because it operates on scales so long that it doesn’t affect short-term climate change) Connecting climate models with actual temperature changes NASA Goddard’s Gavin Schmidt explains the history of the instrumental temperature record Last time…

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