Evolution

Life Science (X) - Evolution (X) - Music (X)

The World's Largest Salamander | Songs for Unusual Creatures

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The Chinese Giant Salamander is the largest amphibian on the planet, reaching lengths of up to six feet. In this episode, join host Michael Hearts as he travels to the Los Angeles Zoo to meet a Chinese Giant Salamander, and then perform a song inspired by this unusual creature.

Hunting For Tardigrades! | Songs for Unusual Creatures

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Guess which animal can survive temperatures of 300 Fahrenheit, -400 degrees, and withstand 1000x more radiation than any other animal on the planet? The Honey Badger? Wrong! It's the tardigrade (aka water bear). In this episode, host Michael Hearst hunts for this microscopic creature in Virginia.

The Easter Bilby? | Songs For Unusual Creatures

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In Australia the bilby has become a popular alternative to the Easter Bunny. In this episode, we learn all about this unusual Australian marsupial. We'll also make bilby masks and jump around, because, why not?

The Evolutionary Advantages of Art | Braincraft

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I sit down with The Art Assignment host Sarah Urist Green to chat about science, art, and evolution. The evolutionary pathway that led us to be the apex predator on this planet also resulted in some pretty cool skills.

Why Music Moves Us | It's Okay to Be Smart

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Why does music make us feel happy or sad? Or angry or romantic? How can simple sound waves cause so much emotion? Joe Hanson, host of It's Okay to Be Smart, went from his comfy chair to the streets of Austin to investigate how it might be written into our neuroscience and evolution. Modern neuroscience says our brains may be wired to pick certain emotions out of music because they remind us of how people move!

Humans are the only species we know that creates and communicate using music, but it's still unclear how or why we do that, brain-wise. Is it just a lucky side effect of evolution, like Steven Pinker says? Or is it a deeper part of our evolutionary history, as people like Mark Changizi and Daniel Levitin argue?

New evolutionary science says that we may read emotion in music because it relates to how we sense emotion in people's movements. We'll take a trip from Austin to Dartmouth to Cambodia to hear why music makes us feel so many feels.