Thursday, January 27, 2011

On The Edge Of My Seat

This amazing short movie has now passed muster with all three of my kids--big thanks to Bjorn Ostman at Pleiotropy for posting this!  I'd not likely have seen it otherwise.  I paused the video in places to read (and simplify and explain) to my kids how much life was snuffed out, extinct, gone forever, after the Toba Super Eruption, after the asteroid hit at the end of the Cretaceous, after the Permian-Triassic Great Extinction, after the Ordovician-Silurian Extinction...and then.... oh, just watch already!  This 12 minute movie is 16 kinds of cool.  If you have children--watch it with them!  And if you don't, go run out in the street, grab some kids, and have *them* watch it.  Seriously.

Sugoi, desho!
Mata asobou, ne!


  1. OK, that WAS seriously awesome. Not that I have access to children aside from my own inner one, but that was enough. Awesome.

  2. pshaaa - i don't need kids to watch it! I do, however, need to get off my work PC to watch it. I'll check it out tonight

  3. Wow! 0_0
    I think that question mark at the end meant "What do you think we're in for next"
    We watch a lot of movies like this in Biology class, especially the stuff about evolution. No matter how many times i think about it evolution doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

    Something interesting about evolution:

    If you look at any animal (including humans)in the embryo's first stage we all look the same.

    Here's an image of what different animals look like in the embryo:

    You can find more accurate images if you google search it. :)

  4. Cool, huh! I find this stuff fascinating. About embryology, the clearest explanation I've found is in Jerry Coyne's book "Why Evolution Is True"--he's professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago. His blog has the same title (it's down there in the Links--just click on his name). For help in understanding how evolution works, his book is outstanding. And it's not long, and not so technical so that interested laypeople can easily read it, too. From pp 82-84 of his book, a bit on why those embryos look the same:

    "The probable answer--and it's a good one--involves recognizing that as one species develops into another, the descendant inherits the developmental program of its ancestor: that is, all the genes that form ancestral structures. And development is a very conservative process. Many structures that form later in development require biochemical "cues" from features that appear's usually easier to simply tack some less drastic changes onto what is already a robust and basic developmental plan. It is best for things that evolved later to be programmed to develop later in the embryo."

    I *highly* recommend his book!!

  5. Glad you all enjoyed--nothing to do with Japan. Just srsly cool. Closet science geek, here;-))

  6. Sugokatta! Among the many other things on the film, I love cave-paintings and rock art. Incidentally, there's a rather good book on the importance of technology throughout human history, Jonathan Kingdon's 'Self-made Man and his Undoing'; I was reminded of that by the film. And even more incidentally, my younger brother made the dinosaurs for the BBC series on dinosaurs - but not, I think, for this! (Tim Harris)

  7. OK watched it and it was awesome! Also, i almost cried. God i'm a baby