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Get to Know "Your Inner Fish" - with Neil Shubin and Kalliope Monoyios

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    JM: Hi, everybody!
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    Welcome to this episode of Read Science.
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    It's "Your Inner Fish" episode,
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    and welcome.
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    My name is Joanne Manaster,
    a blogger at Scientific American,
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    and we are doing
    our Read Science broadcast today
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    in conjunction with Scientific American.
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    We are joined by my co-host Jeff Schomiyer
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    and by our special guest, Neil Shubin
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    and Kalliope Monoyios,
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    who is also a blogger
    at Scientific American.
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    So, while this is not
    an Earth Day episode, per se,
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    our guest, Neil Shubin,
    knows a thing or two
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    about digging up bits of the earth
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    to help us understand our place
    in evolutionary history.
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    Paleontologist and author
    Neil Shubin and his team
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    discovered well-preserved
    Devonian Era tetrapod fish fossils
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    in 2004 on Ellsmere Island in Canada,
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    and published the result
    in a landmark paper in Nature in 2006.
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    I look forward to
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    learning more about this.
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    Currently, Dr. Shubin is the
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    Robert R. Bensley Professor
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    of Organismal Biology and Anatomy,
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    Associate Dean of Organismal Biology
    and Anatomy,
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    and Professor on the Committee
    of Evolutionary Biology
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    at the University of Chicago,
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    along with being the provost of the
    Field Museum of Natural History
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    up there in Chicago.
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    He has written two well-received books:
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    Your Inner Fish:
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    A Journey Into the 3.5 Billion
    Year History of the Human Body
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    and The Universe Within:
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    Discovering the Common History
    of Rocks, Planets, and People.
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    They have been beautifully illustrated
    by our second guest,
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    whom Jeff will introduce momentarily.
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    Currently, Dr. Shubin is hosting a series,
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    based on Your Inner Fish on PBS,
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    and ― if you haven't watched it ―
    I highly recommend it.
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    I'll turn it over―
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    Oh, say "Hi" to everybody!
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    NS: Hello, Glad to be here!
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    JM: Thank you so much for joining us.
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    NS: It is my pleasure to introduce
    Kalliope Monoyios,
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    whose name I'm still practicing.
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    She's a science illustrator
    and communicator.
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    She's contributed―
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    I've counted about
    three and a half dozen illustrations
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    for "Your Inner Fish".
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    And she's also illustrated
    Neil's newest book, The Universe Within.
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    She's a graduate of Princeton University
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    with a bachelor's degree in Geology.
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    For eleven years, she worked
    at the University of Chicago
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    as a scientific illustrator
    and public outreach coordinator
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    in Neil Shubin's lab.
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    From her blog, I want to read this
    one sentence of her philosophy:
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    "By creating intriguing intuitive imagery,
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    targeted to the right audience,
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    scientists can make their research
    both interesting and accessible,
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    ultimately leading to
    more meaningful discussions
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    and more scientifically literate public."
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    And that something we're all about,
    here at Read Science.
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    She writes a blog at Scientific American
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    called the Symbiartic: The Art of Science
    and the Science of Art
    ,
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    and I would suggest you visit
    her personal website
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    to see a number of examples
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    of her very beautiful
    and accurate illustrations.
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    Kalliopi, it's great to have you here,
    Welcome!
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    KM: Thank you, I'm excited to be here!
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    JS: Okay, okay. I want to start
    where Neil began his story,
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    which is the discovery
    of the fossil of Tiktaalik
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    - I say that correctly -
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    an ancient bony fish that your team
    found in the Arctic.
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    Set the scene for the book,
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    give us a hint of how
    those fossil fish bones
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    could possibly relate to humans
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    and then that insight that formed
    the nucleus of the story
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    that you tell with "Your Inner Fish".
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    And then I'll be back with
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    another question.
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    NS: Well, there's two things about
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    the fossil discovery that are relevant.
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    The first is the fossil itself,
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    but, almost more importantly,
    is the discovery story of the fossil.
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    That's how we knew where to look
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    because I think it's there, where a lot
    of the conceptual power comes back.
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    The fossil itself―
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    if I was to hold it
    in front of you―
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    would be about 4 feet long,
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    The largest one is about 9 feet long.
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    You'd look at it and see a head,
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    like this.
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    This is a cast of Tiktaalik.
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    You'd see a head that's sort of
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    of a flat head
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    with a pair of eyes on top,
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    could see the scales on its back,
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    and pins with fin webbing.
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    But if you'd look inside the creature,
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    you'd see inside that fin
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    is an upper arm bone, a forearm,
    even parts of a wrist.
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    You have a neck, much like
    a kind of the neck that we have.
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    They had lungs and gills.
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    It was a real intermediate between
    fish and land-living animal.
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    So, it tells us a lot about
    how animals evolved to walk on land.
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    But importantly, when put in the context
    of all the other evidence that we have,
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    what it tells us us is that
    we can connect the fossil of this fish
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    to the evolution of our own bodies.
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    So this wrist we see
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    for the first time in Tiktaalik
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    and its relatives
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    is something that's
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    become our own wrist
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    The neck we see for the
    first time
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    in this kind of creature (and
    its relatives),
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    is something that
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    was to become our own neck.
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    So it's part of our own
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    story, embedded in this fish,
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    The other part of this story
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    that's really relevant
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    is the discovery story.
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    It's there where
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    the power
    really comes about.
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    We didn't just
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    stumble on it. What we did was
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    we predicted where it would be.
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    Using the tools of
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    evolutionary biology,
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    using tools of the science of
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    stratigraphy in geology,
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    we were able to say,
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    "These rocks in the Arctic,
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    because they're the right age,
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    because they're the right type of rock,
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    will likely hold this kind of fossil."
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    It took us six years, but we did find it.
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    JS: You've given me a lead.
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    I may come back to my second half later,
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    because you've given me the other
    question that I wanted to ask
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    where you had this very nice,
    very useful discussion
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    about locating likely geological strata,
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    where you thought you might find
    a transitional fossil,
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    which was something
    you were actually looking for.
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    You had this in mind, and you went
    through this process,
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    this sequence of deductions
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    that helped you locate a rather few,
    likely finds, exactly,
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    with a lot of precision.
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    And I'm thinking
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    as I'm reading that,
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    we don't usually think of
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    paleontology
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    as a predictive science.
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    But that's really what's
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    going on here, isn't it?
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    NS: Well, that was the power
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    right? That's the conceptual
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    power. Because it's the tools of
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    evolutionary biology
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    that gave us the
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    means to predict.
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    We didn't go to any
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    kind of rock. We went to
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    rocks of a particular age.
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    We didn't just go to any
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    kind of rock of a particular age,
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    we went to rocks that were
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    formed on a particular kind of
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    environment.
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    It's a prediction that sure
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    proves the rule
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    to some extent.
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    And what's interesting about Tiktaalik
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    is that at one level it's
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    utterly trivial
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    because we didn't invent new techniques.
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    We were using the same toolkit
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    paleontologists
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    have been using
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    for over a century.
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    Okay, this is just
    a very vivid example of it,
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    but the paleontological method
    is working every day.
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    Every week, when you read a paper
    in nature or science,
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    it's using a version of what
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    Ted Daeschler,
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    Farish Jenkins, and I did.
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    JS: But... you keep giving me
    these great leads.
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    Thank you.
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    NS: Hey, no problem.
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    JS: The other one: you're not just
    looking vaguely for some transition.
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    You had in mind a specific thing,
    an animal, a type of animal,
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    that was going to be your transition
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    that would show you
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    what you were looking for.
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    And now that's the other part
    that I wanted to get to before this.
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    I enjoyed this story
    that you told so much,
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    because you ranged
    over so many disciplines,
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    and I've listed a few, like,
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    paleontology, geology,
    developmental biology, evolution,
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    cell biology, comparative anatomy,
    dozens of others.
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    And the challenge of all that,
    but the thrill,
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    would seem to be how to tell
    a compelling, coherent story,
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    involving all those things.
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    That lead me to ponder:
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    was there a theme for the book?
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    And I want to ask, if this is fair?
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    We've had a lot of chances
    in the last few years,
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    to hear about evolution as a powerful idea
    at the center of things
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    that helps us make sense
    of all of biology.
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    That would seem in a way to be
    an overarching theme for this book.
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    You are using this idea of common descent
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    every place for everything you are doing,
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    and the entire story throughout
    seems to express that.
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    I want to see if you agree...
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    this is an essay question.
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    NS: I agree!
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    Although I'll give you a longer answer,
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    rather than just the "I agree".
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    The whole conceit behind Inner Fish,
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    both the book and the TV show,
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    interleaves disciplines
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    because the show, really
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    in a big way.
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    It would have been much easier
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    to do a TV show,
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    where we're only in the field
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    finding fossils, right?
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    But we had interleaved
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    the genetics,
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    the developmental biology,
    the field paleontology.
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    Because these fit together, to reveal
    the history inside our body.
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    So the whole conceivable idea
    behind "Your Inner Fish"
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    is that 3.5 billion years of history
    are really relevant.
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    One, they're relevant,
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    because we can know it.
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    The tools of science enable us
    to reach in the past
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    and see these events in the distant past.
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    But the other piece is that history
    is inside you and me.
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    I mean, every cell, every gene,
    every organ of our body,
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    contains that history.
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    And we can unpeel that history.
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    And so, when the idea
    for Inner Fish hit me,
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    and the title came first, actually,
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    I was like, yeah, I could tell the story
    of evolution in our own bodies.
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    This whole Tiktaalik story is not
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    some esoteric event
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    in the history of life.
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    It's something that artifacts are
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    embedded in us.
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    But that's only the
    tip of the iceberg,
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    there's other stories as well.
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    So it became a vehicle for that.
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    It became a vehicle for telling
    the story of discovery.
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    I mean, particularly in the TV shows:
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    the show focuses very much on how we know,
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    not just what we know.
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    How we know all this stuff?
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    We spend a lot of time on it.
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    And there's a reason,
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    because science is a way of knowing.
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    Not just a body of facts.
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    And so, the philosophy behind the show
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    was to convey that really vividly.
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    And also in the book.
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    But the show gave us
    new techniques to do it.
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    You know, computer graphics,
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    and talking to "A List" scientists,
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    who are themselves
    on the frontline of discovery.
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    So that was really the motive,
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    and the other piece of this was
    science is a team sport:
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    I'm not the discover of Tiktaalik, okay?
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    I am one of several people
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    and I wouldn't be here,
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    if it wasn't for all the people
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    who I work with.
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    So I wanted to tell their story, too,
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    because I'm embedded in a team,
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    and Kappi was very much
    a part of that team.
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    That team extends to visualisation.
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    I mean, so much of what
    had come out with Tiktaalik
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    was because of the talents
    of so many people,
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    from the initial fieldwork
    to the discovery itself,
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    then to just making casts like this,
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    or, more importantly, making
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    casts like this, which Kappi does. A fin.
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    She had a blog post on it
    a couple weeks ago.
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    These were really important things
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    you know and
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    Kappi spent a lot of time
    working on this fin.
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    It took months.
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    She could go through the story.
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    But, having this
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    changes the conversation.
  • 11:17 - 11:19
    So again, it's teamwork.
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    And that's another thing
    we wanted to convey
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    with the book and the show.
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    JS: Well
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    JM: So,
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    JS: Umm, I'm almost done, I'm sorry.
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    But, even if there is sort
    of this one powerful central idea
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    the fact that you brought in all of
    these disciplines to talk about
  • 11:36 - 11:40
    shows all of these connectedness
    all of these teamwork
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    the fact that does not exist as
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    a single idea
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    but there are strings of deductions
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    and implications and discoveries
    that reach way out.
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    Science is a big, big thing now.
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    and someone complains,
    "Well, evolution...PAH!"
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    Like, it's in everything
    and you've got stuff
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    that is ranging over all these fields
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    there's a huge interconnectedness
    to all this
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    and it shows this so well.
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    NS: Yeah, if you were to visit
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    my lab right now
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    it's just outside the door
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    right here
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    We have a
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    molecular biology lab, essentially.
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    Then we have
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    a preparation lab
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    for fossil facility, right?
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    And then we have map room, so all these
    disciplines emerge
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    in what's going on right outside
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    the door here
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    because you need those different tools
    to assess the history.
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    They become
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    with the new techniques, we have
  • 12:28 - 12:29
    They just become
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    ever more powerful
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    when working together, you know?
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    JM: So I'd like to bring Kappi in the
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    conversation because I would like to know
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    how did you two come together and really
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    to sort of put yourselves on the map
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    I assume, at least for the general public
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    by illustrating this book
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    which by the way I will say if
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    people ask for a good book on evolution
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    This is one.
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    And Written in Stone by Brian Switek
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    Those are the two I recommend
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    all the time
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    Kappi, why don't you tell us a bit about
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    how you became involved with this project
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    and what this book has meant for
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    scientific illustrations because some
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    books do the entire book without any
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    illustration.
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    KM: It's unfortunate isn't it?
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    JM: We're still kids, we need the pictures
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    KM: By the time this book--
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    when Neil conceived of this project I was
  • 13:31 - 13:34
    several years in his lab and making my way
  • 13:34 - 13:35
    as an illustrator
  • 13:36 - 13:39
    and so we had really established
  • 13:43 - 13:44
    a process
  • 13:44 - 13:46
    of thinking about illustrations.
  • 13:46 - 13:49
    Before he would write papers he would
  • 13:49 - 13:51
    sit down and think about what he wanted
  • 13:51 - 13:52
    to convey visually.
  • 13:52 - 13:54
    This was already a part of our process
  • 13:54 - 13:55
    It was very natural when
  • 13:55 - 13:57
    he conceived of this book
  • 13:57 - 13:59
    for him to sit down and start
  • 13:59 - 14:00
    thinking about how he was
  • 14:00 - 14:01
    going to use visualizations
  • 14:01 - 14:05
    in the process of thinking about
  • 14:05 - 14:06
    what he wanted to write
  • 14:06 - 14:07
    and what he wanted to convey.
  • 14:07 - 14:09
    I actually think it's a very natural
  • 14:09 - 14:12
    process. He even does it with his lectures
  • 14:12 - 14:14
    I don't want to speak for you Neil but
  • 14:14 - 14:15
    my sense is...
  • 14:15 - 14:16
    NS: You're doing a better job than
  • 14:16 - 14:18
    I am so, go for it! [laughter]
  • 14:18 - 14:20
    KM: My sense is that when he sits down
  • 14:20 - 14:21
    to think about what he wants to
  • 14:21 - 14:22
    teach his students,
  • 14:22 - 14:25
    the first thing I think he does is that he
  • 14:25 - 14:26
    pulls together a bunch of slides
  • 14:26 - 14:28
    and he's thinking about
  • 14:28 - 14:30
    telling a story visually and
  • 14:30 - 14:32
    then he kind of, obviously he knows
  • 14:32 - 14:34
    the material and he knows it so well
  • 14:34 - 14:35
    he can just riff off of the visuals that
  • 14:35 - 14:37
    he's pulled together so...
  • 14:37 - 14:38
    The book was almost
  • 14:38 - 14:40
    conceived in the same fashion.
  • 14:40 - 14:42
    He thought about the general topics
  • 14:42 - 14:43
    that he wanted to
  • 14:45 - 14:47
    convey to people
  • 14:47 - 14:49
    that he found interesting,
  • 14:49 - 14:51
    stories that he thought would resonate
  • 14:51 - 14:53
    with people and then it was very natural.
  • 14:53 - 14:55
    Biology is a very visual,
  • 14:55 - 14:56
    particularly anatomy,
  • 14:56 - 14:58
    is a very visual science, and so
  • 14:58 - 15:01
    it was very natural for me to step in and
  • 15:01 - 15:03
    work with him from the conception.
  • 15:04 - 15:05
    of the book
  • 15:05 - 15:07
    to just bring
  • 15:07 - 15:09
    bring out the story through images.
  • 15:10 - 15:13
    NS: Just to hone in:
  • 15:14 - 15:15
    When we did any
  • 15:15 - 15:17
    chapter in Inner Fish really began with
  • 15:17 - 15:18
    a rough draft that
  • 15:18 - 15:20
    I'd write and then I'd
  • 15:20 - 15:21
    give it to Kappi. While it
  • 15:21 - 15:23
    it was still a crummy rough draft
  • 15:25 - 15:26
    and at that time, with the
  • 15:26 - 15:28
    crummy rough draft,
  • 15:28 - 15:30
    we'd sit down and think, "Where in this
  • 15:30 - 15:32
    thing, where would figures work best?"
  • 15:32 - 15:34
    So, the figures came in really
  • 15:34 - 15:36
    early in the chapter. Which meant
  • 15:36 - 15:38
    sometimes we did a lot of figures we
  • 15:38 - 15:40
    ended up not using them because you're
  • 15:40 - 15:42
    rewriting the chapter. In many cases
  • 15:42 - 15:45
    what happens is, text and image become
  • 15:45 - 15:47
    linked in a very important way.
  • 15:47 - 15:49
    And I learned that from my mentor
  • 15:49 - 15:52
    Farish Jenkins at Harvard who, before he
  • 15:52 - 15:54
    even began a scientific paper would
  • 15:54 - 15:55
    work on the figures.
  • 15:55 - 15:58
    Figures first, then the text.
  • 15:58 - 15:59
    That was the philosophy.
  • 15:59 - 16:01
    We carry them every day here
  • 16:01 - 16:03
    and Kappi was very much
  • 16:03 - 16:04
    a part of that enterprise
  • 16:04 - 16:06
    JS: Joanne I have had several occasions
  • 16:06 - 16:08
    in these programs to say maybe the
  • 16:08 - 16:10
    common acronym STEM should
  • 16:10 - 16:11
    really be STEAM because
  • 16:11 - 16:13
    we think art would be a valuable
  • 16:13 - 16:15
    contribution to that idea
  • 16:15 - 16:18
    of learning and what makes for a
  • 16:18 - 16:19
    well-rounded person
  • 16:19 - 16:22
    It's nice to hear you promoting that too
  • 16:22 - 16:24
    integrating those things together
  • 16:24 - 16:26
    It's very valuable.
  • 16:27 - 16:28
    NS: Well in writing Inner Fish it wasn't
  • 16:28 - 16:29
    only that.
  • 16:29 - 16:31
    The most important course to my
  • 16:31 - 16:34
    college years in writing Inner Fish was
  • 16:34 - 16:37
    a Russian literature course. [laughter]
  • 16:37 - 16:39
    I took it and it just blew my mind.
  • 16:39 - 16:42
    I had a teacher who, it wasn't really the
  • 16:42 - 16:43
    Russian literature per se
  • 16:43 - 16:45
    but he focused like a laser beam on
  • 16:45 - 16:47
    writing clearly and precisely and trying
  • 16:47 - 16:49
    to engage the audience. Those lessons
  • 16:49 - 16:50
    stuck with me ever since
  • 16:50 - 16:53
    That's Liberal Arts coming back. You never
  • 16:53 - 16:55
    could have predicted at the time.
  • 16:55 - 16:57
    So huge in my development
  • 16:57 - 16:59
    as a scientist, writer, communicator...
  • 16:59 - 17:00
    I'm sure everybody has similar
  • 17:00 - 17:02
    NS: [Nods.] Mhmm
  • 17:02 - 17:04
    JM: And it is. You stand out, so you're
  • 17:04 - 17:05
    a member of the team but you're
  • 17:05 - 17:07
    the one who's the face of the team now
  • 17:07 - 17:09
    because you are able to
  • 17:09 - 17:10
    communicate so well
  • 17:10 - 17:11
    not only in the book but you're also
  • 17:11 - 17:14
    a charismatic, congenial personality
  • 17:14 - 17:18
    who can transfer those talents to the TV
  • 17:18 - 17:18
    show.
  • 17:18 - 17:21
    Have you had some particular challenges
  • 17:21 - 17:23
    going from, writing can be solitary,
  • 17:23 - 17:27
    to now being out there in front of cameras
  • 17:27 - 17:29
    and mic'ed up and everything?
  • 17:29 - 17:31
    NS: That was a little harder because the
  • 17:31 - 17:33
    TV show was surprisingly difficult because
  • 17:33 - 17:35
    A. It is a team sport of a different kind
  • 17:35 - 17:37
    You have the graphics artist, you have the
  • 17:37 - 17:39
    director, you have the sound people,
  • 17:39 - 17:41
    you have the folks working on the script.
  • 17:41 - 17:43
    So, it comes together in a different way.
  • 17:43 - 17:46
    The one thing that helped me during the
  • 17:46 - 17:48
    TV show was that everything to camera
  • 17:48 - 17:49
    was ad-libbed.
  • 17:49 - 17:51
    So that definitely kept it...we'd know
  • 17:51 - 17:53
    what we wanted out of every scene
  • 17:53 - 17:54
    but my words weren't scripted.
  • 17:54 - 17:56
    So I could try different things.
  • 17:56 - 17:57
    That gave me a chance to become very
  • 17:57 - 17:59
    familiar with the camera. Because, it's
  • 17:59 - 18:01
    really important in a TV show,
  • 18:01 - 18:03
    particularly one like Inner Fish,
  • 18:03 - 18:04
    which has sort of an intimate
  • 18:04 - 18:07
    relationship with
  • 18:07 - 18:08
    the material and the presenter
  • 18:08 - 18:10
    that you can go big in your presentation.
  • 18:10 - 18:12
    It has to be very intimate. It's me
  • 18:12 - 18:14
    talking to you as my best friend.
  • 18:14 - 18:18
    Really sharing these wonderful
  • 18:18 - 18:19
    treasures,
  • 18:19 - 18:21
    with you.
  • 18:21 - 18:22
    Treasures of science,
    if you will.
  • 18:23 - 18:24
    So that was my mindset going in
  • 18:24 - 18:27
    but that took a little while to
    get to that place.
  • 18:27 - 18:28
    I didn't know that
  • 18:28 - 18:30
    at all. We fumpfed around a little bit
  • 18:30 - 18:31
    I was really lucky working with
  • 18:31 - 18:32
    a good team, let's put
  • 18:32 - 18:33
    it that way.
  • 18:33 - 18:36
    JM: I think your years of lecturing
  • 18:36 - 18:39
    on the material
  • 18:39 - 18:42
    and it does come through in the program.
  • 18:42 - 18:44
    that you are one of the experts
  • 18:44 - 18:46
    in this field and you are able to
  • 18:46 - 18:47
    communicate it well
  • 18:47 - 18:50
    So actually Jeff, one day we should
  • 18:50 - 18:51
    do a tally of people
  • 18:51 - 18:53
    we've had on this show who
  • 18:53 - 18:54
    are scientists and who
  • 18:54 - 18:55
    are science writers
  • 18:55 - 18:56
    and I don't think that the
  • 18:56 - 18:57
    balance is high
  • 18:57 - 18:59
    toward the scientists so
  • 18:59 - 19:00
    To have a scientist
  • 19:00 - 19:02
    who is also a good communicator and
  • 19:02 - 19:03
    who is willing to
  • 19:03 - 19:04
    write a really good book...
  • 19:04 - 19:06
    you have done a great service
  • 19:06 - 19:07
    by communicating to this
  • 19:07 - 19:09
    to the wider world
  • 19:09 - 19:11
    a national bestseller even
  • 19:11 - 19:13
    It helps keep the balance
  • 19:13 - 19:16
    It's very exciting that now we can
  • 19:16 - 19:17
    start talking about
  • 19:17 - 19:18
    scientific art too
  • 19:18 - 19:20
    and bring in the idea of illustration
  • 19:20 - 19:21
    and visual presentation.
  • 19:21 - 19:23
    JS to JM: You look like you're about to
  • 19:23 - 19:24
    do something
  • 19:24 - 19:25
    do you want me to wait
  • 19:25 - 19:27
    JM: I am just showing an image while I'm
  • 19:27 - 19:29
    talking here. This is one of the
  • 19:29 - 19:31
    illustrations, many like this in the book.
  • 19:31 - 19:32
    Kappi, were you able to help with the
  • 19:32 - 19:35
    TV show at all or you just gave
  • 19:35 - 19:36
    permission for the images
  • 19:37 - 19:39
    KM: The extent of my help was
  • 19:39 - 19:41
    passing on images that
  • 19:41 - 19:43
    would help them in their research
  • 19:43 - 19:45
    They did an incredible job.
  • 19:46 - 19:49
    What a team of illustrators and graphic
  • 19:49 - 19:51
    designers they have
  • 19:51 - 19:53
    NS: You're not being entirely fair.
  • 19:53 - 19:54
    They started with the
  • 19:54 - 19:55
    Your images
    formed the template
  • 19:55 - 19:58
    for a lot of the computer graphics.
  • 19:58 - 20:00
    So what they did was, they'd take her
  • 20:00 - 20:03
    very simple visual images and then
    really build them 3D
  • 20:03 - 20:05
    and sort of animate them in a way.
  • 20:05 - 20:07
    They begain with Kappi's real simple
  • 20:07 - 20:10
    Here's the essence, the platonic form.
  • 20:10 - 20:11
    of what we need to do
  • 20:12 - 20:15
    JM: I was very impressed with the
    animations
  • 20:15 - 20:18
    'cause you could see them
    drawing in the structures.
  • 20:18 - 20:20
    For the people watching this show,
  • 20:20 - 20:22
    it's definitely a recommendation.
  • 20:22 - 20:24
    I teach a master's of science
  • 20:24 - 20:25
    teaching program
  • 20:26 - 20:27
    To my teachers, I'm like,
  • 20:27 - 20:29
    "I hope you're watching this show."
  • 20:31 - 20:34
    NS: So I have a question about
  • 20:34 - 20:36
    the process, the writing process
  • 20:36 - 20:37
    and the illustrating.
  • 20:37 - 20:39
    This won't show very well but this
  • 20:39 - 20:40
    was one of my favorites
  • 20:40 - 20:42
    and a really good example.
  • 20:43 - 20:46
    In my copy of the book, it's page 163
  • 20:46 - 20:50
    but you're illustrating the convergence
  • 20:50 - 20:51
    of how evolution
  • 20:51 - 20:53
    overtime had transformed
  • 20:53 - 20:56
    bones in the jaws of
  • 20:56 - 20:58
    precursor animals fish
  • 20:58 - 21:00
    ...and such into the bones of
  • 21:00 - 21:02
    our inner ear which is a
  • 21:02 - 21:04
    surprising sort of outcome.
  • 21:04 - 21:06
    But also an intimate story about
  • 21:06 - 21:10
    how evolution development uses
  • 21:10 - 21:12
    material that is already there.
  • 21:12 - 21:14
    I'm thinking how did this
  • 21:14 - 21:15
    illustration,
  • 21:15 - 21:17
    it's a very complicated
  • 21:17 - 21:18
    illustration.
  • 21:18 - 21:20
    It shows a lot of complex things
  • 21:20 - 21:22
    and it requires a lot of
  • 21:22 - 21:23
    accuracy too,
  • 21:23 - 21:25
    in exactly what it is presenting.
  • 21:25 - 21:27
    What's the process for that?
  • 21:27 - 21:29
    Where did you say,
    "Oh, we need one here."
  • 21:29 - 21:31
    "It should show this." "This isn't looking
  • 21:31 - 21:33
    right." "This is illustrating it well."
  • 21:33 - 21:35
    Who wants to go first?
  • 21:35 - 21:37
    Well, I was writing a chapter on ears
  • 21:37 - 21:39
    it clearly needed a figure that told the
  • 21:39 - 21:41
    the transformational story.
  • 21:41 - 21:43
    Typically what would happen is,
  • 21:43 - 21:44
    I would go to Kappi and say,
  • 21:44 - 21:46
    "Here's the text. This is what I am trying
  • 21:46 - 21:48
    to say." and then she'd...
  • 21:48 - 21:49
    That's a Kappi.
  • 21:49 - 21:50
    You ran with that one,
  • 21:50 - 21:52
    as I remember.
  • 21:52 - 21:54
    Originally it was just going to be
  • 21:54 - 21:56
    the reptile and the mammal transition
  • 21:56 - 21:58
    but you had the idea to fold in the
  • 21:58 - 21:59
    other one as I recall
  • 21:59 - 22:01
    That was about 8 years ago, so
  • 22:01 - 22:03
    I believe that's one you took ownership
  • 22:03 - 22:05
    over and it's better for it
  • 22:05 - 22:07
    KM: Thanks.
  • 22:07 - 22:10
    As I would read Neil's text, I
  • 22:10 - 22:13
    don't know if other people do this but
  • 22:13 - 22:15
    when I read, images pop into my mind.
  • 22:15 - 22:18
    And when something is a
    particularly visual concept
  • 22:18 - 22:21
    It just seems to present itself.
  • 22:21 - 22:24
    I think that I saw that opportunity.
  • 22:24 - 22:29
    Neil knows the content so well
  • 22:29 - 22:30
    He would come and say
  • 22:30 - 22:33
    Here are these great fossils.
  • 22:33 - 22:38
    and he'd list off these four or
    five great examples.
  • 22:40 - 22:43
    It was just a matter of digging them out
  • 22:43 - 22:46
    and seeing how that transition
    actually happened.
  • 22:47 - 22:49
    When you actually do the organization and
  • 22:49 - 22:51
    get it down on paper and it tells such
  • 22:51 - 22:53
    an incredibly visual story
  • 22:53 - 22:55
    The diagram creates itself.
  • 22:55 - 22:57
    It's just a matter of
  • 22:58 - 23:00
    putting things in a logical place.
  • 23:00 - 23:02
    so that people follow it
  • 23:02 - 23:05
    like they would read a text.
  • 23:06 - 23:08
    JS: What source material were you using?
  • 23:08 - 23:11
    for the heads that you illustrate here?
  • 23:11 - 23:13
    of various animals
  • 23:13 - 23:19
    We would pull out original papers that
    were describing these fossils, classic
  • 23:19 - 23:26
    textbook illustrations,
    a lot of tools that had been used in the
  • 23:26 - 23:30
    past we were just trying to
    synthesize them in new ways.
  • 23:30 - 23:33
    and it ways that made sense that fit
    Neil's text and Neil's audience
  • 23:34 - 23:38
    One of the things that I think is really
    critical in communicating,
  • 23:38 - 23:41
    particularly science to the public,
    but really anything is
  • 23:41 - 23:44
    knowing your audience.
  • 23:44 - 23:46
    You'll see figures that are repurposed
  • 23:46 - 23:48
    from other sources.
  • 23:51 - 23:53
    That is the piece
    that is lost because
  • 23:53 - 23:56
    people are not considering the new
    audience and what they're
  • 23:56 - 23:57
    particularly trying to say.
  • 23:57 - 24:01
    A lot of what we were doing with our
    illustrations for the book was
  • 24:02 - 24:08
    Thinking about catering it
    tailoring it to match the text,
  • 24:08 - 24:15
    first of all and to talk to our specific
    audience that we were trying to reach.
  • 24:15 - 24:18
    JS: But I'm interested in hearing
    too that you used
  • 24:19 - 24:25
    sources of original papers and you have
    to look through, evaluate, understand,
  • 24:25 - 24:28
    draw this illustration that relies on a
  • 24:28 - 24:29
    large number of ideas
  • 24:29 - 24:31
    and as a scientific illustrator
  • 24:31 - 24:36
    you have to make them not only
    interesting and attractive, but you have
  • 24:36 - 24:38
    to make them correct.
  • 24:38 - 24:39
    KM: Yes.
  • 24:39 - 24:45
    JS: And that takes a lot of
    editorial oversight.
  • 24:45 - 24:48
    on your part and scientific
    knowledge to make them right.
  • 24:48 - 24:52
    KM: That's the difference between
    a scientific illustrator and just
  • 24:52 - 24:54
    a fine artist, or a really good artist
  • 24:54 - 24:57
    NS: or a science writer on a
    science TV show,
  • 24:57 - 25:00
    we have a higher master. [laughter]
  • 25:00 - 25:02
    KM: Right, exactly, you need to
  • 25:02 - 25:05
    know the science or at least
    understand the scientific process
  • 25:05 - 25:09
    the accuracy needed
  • 25:09 - 25:13
    JS: That's maybe part of our answer
    Joanne.
  • 25:13 - 25:17
    Not every scientist is a writer
    or an illustrator.
  • 25:17 - 25:21
    They take additional skills to be
    good at both.
  • 25:21 - 25:25
    NS: It starts in a similar way
  • 25:25 - 25:27
    Just like what Kappi was saying
  • 25:27 - 25:29
    You really need to find the generals.
  • 25:29 - 25:31
    What universals? What generals do
    you want to project?
  • 25:31 - 25:33
    What do you want your audience to know?
  • 25:33 - 25:35
    What is the core here?
  • 25:35 - 25:38
    For a writer it's finding the narratives
    to get you there
  • 25:38 - 25:41
    For an artist, it's designing the visual.
  • 25:41 - 25:44
    For the TV, it's combining music, video
  • 25:44 - 25:45
    on camera.
  • 25:45 - 25:47
    The tools are different
    but it begins
  • 25:47 - 25:48
    conceptually in a very similar place.
  • 25:48 - 25:51
    What are the generals
  • 25:51 - 25:53
    that an audience really needs to know?
  • 25:53 - 25:56
    What do you want out of this whole thing?
  • 25:56 - 25:58
    JS: You're revealing some of the secrets
  • 25:58 - 26:00
    of artists and writers
  • 26:00 - 26:04
    that it doesn't just happen by accident
    that they actually do these things
  • 26:04 - 26:08
    by design. [laughter]
  • 26:08 - 26:12
    JM: Kappi, how did you start as
    maybe a young girl I assume
  • 26:12 - 26:16
    artistry didn't just occur to you at
    20 years old, right?
  • 26:16 - 26:17
    So you were probably drawing things.
  • 26:17 - 26:19
    Were you drawing things from nature?
  • 26:19 - 26:21
    Would you spend time outside?
  • 26:21 - 26:25
    How did your path begin
    to get you to where you are today?
  • 26:25 - 26:29
    What makes someone a
    scientific illustrator?
  • 26:29 - 26:32
    KM: It's an interesting question.
  • 26:32 - 26:39
    I have both scientists and artists in
    my family in droves.
  • 26:39 - 26:43
    The art was always a constant.
  • 26:43 - 26:45
    Whenever we'd have family gatherings
  • 26:45 - 26:49
    there's always some craft or art project
    going on.
  • 26:51 - 26:55
    That certainly runs deep.
    And then the science as well.
  • 26:55 - 27:00
    My grandfather was a professor.
    Both of my grandfather's were professors.
  • 27:02 - 27:06
    Academia, certainly, and science in
    particular have always been an interest.
  • 27:08 - 27:12
    I grew up in NYC but I was always
    out on hikes learning about nature
  • 27:12 - 27:16
    and collecting leaves and rocks.
    and shells and on the hunt for
  • 27:16 - 27:19
    fossils in Central Park.
  • 27:19 - 27:22
    Which, now, as a geology major,
    and working in Neil's lab,
  • 27:22 - 27:25
    I understand was kind of hilarious.
    [laughter]
  • 27:27 - 27:29
    You know, I had my hopes.
  • 27:31 - 27:35
    So, there's definitely a thread that
    runs through my whole childhood
  • 27:35 - 27:37
    about interest in geology,
    in particular, paleontology.
  • 27:37 - 27:41
    I spend a lot of time at the American
    Museum of Natural History in NY.
  • 27:43 - 27:47
    It was all there, it just came together
    after school when I realized I wasn't
  • 27:47 - 27:50
    particularly interested in academicary
  • 27:50 - 27:53
    and I don't think that our
  • 27:55 - 27:59
    higher education focuses on the
  • 28:00 - 28:03
    more artistic sides of science
  • 28:03 - 28:05
    and science communication
  • 28:05 - 28:09
    Maybe now the tides are starting to
    turn and are becoming more aware
  • 28:09 - 28:11
    of the value in that?
  • 28:11 - 28:16
    Certainly 15 years ago, when I was in
    college, it felt like you either were
  • 28:16 - 28:20
    going the hard academic route or
    you were not.
  • 28:20 - 28:28
    I was very luck to find Neil and have his
    mentorship as I learned that science
  • 28:28 - 28:32
    Communication is a viable career and
    certainly a valuable one.
  • 28:32 - 28:33
    Very fulfilling!
  • 28:34 - 28:38
    JM: I appreciate your blog which you
    run with Glendon (Mellow) and
  • 28:39 - 28:41
    KM: Katie McKissick
  • 28:41 - 28:46
    It's wonderful because I learn things
    I don't even give a second thought to
  • 28:46 - 28:48
    most of the time.
  • 28:48 - 28:51
    I am a bit
    interested in, for instance,
  • 28:51 - 28:53
    this iconic image of Tiktaalik
  • 28:53 - 28:56
    that you drew. I am sure it has
    been copied many times.
  • 28:56 - 28:58
    How do you feel when that
    happens?
  • 28:58 - 29:02
    Is it proud? Is it like, "Wait a
    minute. I'm not getting
  • 29:02 - 29:04
    credit. "I don't know!
    I'm never in that kind of
  • 29:04 - 29:05
    position.
  • 29:05 - 29:08
    It depends on the way in which it's copied
  • 29:08 - 29:11
    We have a classic example of
    an image of ours being
  • 29:11 - 29:13
    taken from South Park, which was
    AMAZING, because South Park
  • 29:13 - 29:15
    is such a cultural icon obviously
  • 29:15 - 29:19
    and it was just incredible
    to have that recognition.
  • 29:19 - 29:20
    On the other hand, it would
  • 29:20 - 29:26
    have been nice for the research
    be supported in a monetary way.
  • 29:27 - 29:30
    Which they did not do.
  • 29:31 - 29:33
    It's a double-edged sword, right?
  • 29:33 - 29:37
    You want to be able to make a living from
    this. But it's wonderful when something
  • 29:38 - 29:42
    resonates with the public so deeply that
    it gets used.
  • 29:42 - 29:46
    The other side to that is
  • 29:46 - 29:51
    there is an interesting debate which I
    plan on writing about on SymbiARTic.
  • 29:52 - 29:54
    Science is an inherently
  • 29:54 - 29:57
    collaborative process, we touched
    on that in the beginning. You're
  • 29:57 - 30:01
    always standing on the
    shoulders of the scientists
  • 30:01 - 30:03
    who came before you.
  • 30:04 - 30:08
    Fossils, when you find them, in some
    cases not in Tiktaalik's case, in some
  • 30:08 - 30:15
    cases there is only one specimen
    that represents an entire species.
  • 30:15 - 30:19
    So, the illustrations that come
    from that specimen are
  • 30:19 - 30:21
    are sort of scientific fact.
  • 30:21 - 30:25
    It's what has come to knowledge as the
    facts that we have. Then if we find more
  • 30:25 - 30:32
    species, then we can add to those facts.
  • 30:32 - 30:34
    As they stand, they are fact.
  • 30:34 - 30:38
    The illustrations that stem from those,
    the original illustrator who made those is
  • 30:40 - 30:45
    paying very close attention to the details
    is working closely with the scientists
  • 30:45 - 30:52
    obviously, so that the kind of archetype
    they come up w/ can be construed as fact.
  • 30:52 - 30:57
    Under copyright law, facts are not
    copyrightable.
  • 30:57 - 30:59
    So there is an interesting
  • 31:01 - 31:02
    gray area
  • 31:03 - 31:07
    whether a fossil drawing.
  • 31:07 - 31:09
    A drawing of a fossil that is a
    reconstruction that we
  • 31:09 - 31:13
    consider fact, that other scientists
    are going to use in their papers
  • 31:13 - 31:14
    moving forward
  • 31:14 - 31:18
    when they compare
    other species
  • 31:18 - 31:19
    Is that copyrightable?
  • 31:19 - 31:22
    Can the illustrator take claim to that?
  • 31:22 - 31:27
    And claim damages if they
    get infringed upon? It is
  • 31:27 - 31:31
    a really interesting topic. It is not
    black and white and it certainly
  • 31:31 - 31:34
    hasn't been tested in courts.
  • 31:35 - 31:37
    I don't know if anyone else is
    excited about that.
  • 31:37 - 31:38
    I think it's really
    interesting.
  • 31:38 - 31:42
    JM: Well, things are shifting and changing
    especially with the internet and easily
  • 31:42 - 31:46
    sharable images.
  • 31:49 - 31:53
    This is a fairly recent discovery, in
    terms of sci and in the hx of Earth.
  • 31:58 - 32:01
    Ten years since you discovered this
    pretty well preserved fossil.
  • 32:04 - 32:07
    How big of a discovery was this?
  • 32:07 - 32:10
    NS: Like anything, science moves on.
  • 32:10 - 32:12
    They'll be better Tiktaalik's discovered
  • 32:12 - 32:16
    There's already one that somebody
    discovered that will come out pretty good.
  • 32:20 - 32:24
    Two things, there's the fossil itself
    which is there forever, it's a reference
  • 32:24 - 32:28
    fossil now. It's arguably the best
    preserved of the creatures in this
  • 32:28 - 32:33
    interval of time. Because of a couple
    things. One the quality of the material.
  • 32:33 - 32:34
    One because there's so much of it now.
  • 32:34 - 32:36
    We can look at it in different ways.
  • 32:36 - 32:41
    We have the environmental context.
    I think it offers scientists a resource
  • 32:41 - 32:43
    for this transition.
  • 32:43 - 32:45
    But again, the discovery story.
  • 32:45 - 32:47
    The tool kit really got the word out about
    the power of the paleontological method.
  • 32:47 - 32:51
    in a way that hadn't before.
  • 32:51 - 32:52
    If there's any legacy to the fossil,
    it will be more about, I would hope
  • 32:52 - 33:00
    energizing colleagues and students
  • 33:00 - 33:03
    to get out there and look.
  • 33:03 - 33:06
    Because there are
    still many places to look.
  • 33:06 - 33:07
    As much as it is about the
    origin of tetrapods.
  • 33:07 - 33:13
    Those who know me, know that I'm
    always on the next step.
  • 33:13 - 33:17
    We're launching a whole new
    Tiktaalic style expedition this summer.
  • 33:17 - 33:20
    This is the Cambrian explosion.
  • 33:21 - 33:25
    Applying the tool kit, again.
    Getting out there
  • 33:25 - 33:28
    and trying to discover.
    That's what it's about for me
  • 33:28 - 33:30
    JM: I was going to ask
    when was the next thing.
  • 33:30 - 33:32
    NS: It's what I've always wanted to do.
    I've always been interested in the
  • 33:32 - 33:34
    question of theorigin of the vertebrates.
  • 33:34 - 33:38
    How did our line of vertebrate organisms
    come about?
  • 33:38 - 33:42
    and I love that question because any new
    fossil evidence can really affect the
  • 33:42 - 33:45
    conversation in a big way.
    And we believe that if we're
  • 33:45 - 33:54
    careful about it and use the same
    approach, an analytic approach that
  • 33:54 - 33:58
    we used in devising expeditions in Tiktaalik
  • 33:58 - 34:00
    over a period of time will show signs of
    some success.
  • 34:00 - 34:01
    We'll see.
  • 34:01 - 34:02
    You never know.
  • 34:02 - 34:04
    We're off to a new place this year that
    we believe holds hope.
  • 34:04 - 34:08
    But, talk to me in 6 years.
  • 34:08 - 34:12
    All: [laughter]
  • 34:12 - 34:13
    JM: Are there any immediate or
  • 34:13 - 34:15
    what do you see maybe long-term
    about having a TV show?
  • 34:15 - 34:18
    That would be you, forever,
    available.
  • 34:18 - 34:21
    NS: Well, I love that because one of
    the responses...
  • 34:21 - 34:25
    I've been live Tweeting it. So, the
    last show, the final episode is tonight.
  • 34:28 - 34:30
    I've been live Tweeting the show
  • 34:30 - 34:32
    and it's really been fun 'cause
    I get direct
  • 34:32 - 34:36
    questions from students and teachers.
    Classes are watching it.
  • 34:36 - 34:39
    And it's such an effective way to engage.
  • 34:40 - 34:43
    I come back, Thursday morning, I've
    live Tweeted
  • 34:45 - 34:49
    and I'm so pumped because I have
    these wonderful questions from
  • 34:49 - 34:50
    students
    in my inbox.
  • 34:50 - 34:54
    Filled with
    lovely emails from teachers
  • 34:54 - 34:56
    and educators at different levels.
  • 34:56 - 35:00
    The general public, many of whom
    just haven't had the means to think
  • 35:00 - 35:07
    about these issues before.
    Giving them tools to really think about it
  • 35:07 - 35:11
    has really been wonderful.
  • 35:11 - 35:13
    The show took 2 years to make.
  • 35:13 - 35:15
    It was a slog.
    I gotta say.
  • 35:15 - 35:19
    We traveled to Africa multiple times, the
    Arctic. I was delighted to see it come out
  • 35:19 - 35:22
    after two years.
  • 35:23 - 35:24
    JM: I love PBS.
  • 35:24 - 35:27
    I can't say enough.
  • 35:28 - 35:29
    It inspired me, when I was young.
  • 35:30 - 35:33
    NS: Their support for the show is huge.
  • 35:34 - 35:36
    JM: It's beautiful. It's amazing.
  • 35:37 - 35:38
    JS: Anyone who knows me, knows me
  • 35:38 - 35:41
    the way Joanne knows me, knows I have a
    couple of themes
  • 35:42 - 35:44
    of my own that I always like to talk about
  • 35:50 - 35:54
    There are some excellent quotations that
    jump out at me while I was reading
  • 35:54 - 35:58
    One is about time.
  • 35:58 - 35:59
    They both deal w/ time.
  • 36:01 - 36:03
    The idea that geology, rocks, and things are
  • 36:03 - 36:07
    all old. So that fossils and the way that
    we understand them and the we
  • 36:07 - 36:10
    understand geology must be old.
  • 36:10 - 36:13
    Now, in the very beginning of the book
  • 36:13 - 36:15
    on the first page, you say that,
  • 36:15 - 36:18
    "A column of rocks has a progression
    of fossil species comes as no surprise."
  • 36:18 - 36:22
    I thought, "Well, of course, that
    it is obvious that it's OBVIOUS is a
  • 36:22 - 36:25
    relatively recent thing.
  • 36:25 - 36:27
    That the strata means something.
  • 36:27 - 36:30
    They refer to time.
    That fossils represent
  • 36:30 - 36:33
    animals that once lived but
    no longer lived.
  • 36:36 - 36:38
    It strikes me as really fascinating that
    that's something
  • 36:38 - 36:41
    we've only known for two hundred yrs.
  • 36:41 - 36:42
    a little bit more...
  • 36:42 - 36:45
    NS: Well, Leonardo DaVinci actually
  • 36:45 - 36:47
    was one of the first to think about
    that.
  • 36:47 - 36:51
    Like most things, he was SO far
    ahead of his time,
  • 36:51 - 36:55
    that we're only catching up with
    him in the last couple of centuries.
  • 36:57 - 36:59
    One of the things
    that's really important
  • 36:59 - 37:01
    is that geology, just like
  • 37:01 - 37:04
    evolutionary biology, changes the way
    you look at the world.
  • 37:04 - 37:07
    When you're a geologist
    or you're an evolutionary
  • 37:07 - 37:09
    biologist, you see things
    differently.
  • 37:09 - 37:11
    Because you're looking
    inside those rocks
  • 37:11 - 37:12
    to see ancient environments.
  • 37:12 - 37:14
    Just like if you're
    an evolutionary
  • 37:14 - 37:15
    biologist, you're looking
  • 37:15 - 37:17
    inside bodies to
    see connections.
  • 37:17 - 37:20
    That was one of the things in the show
    that we used graphics to do.
  • 37:20 - 37:23
    To show inside the rocks and how
    landscapes transform
  • 37:24 - 37:29
    Those ideas are multiple lines of science,
    coming together over the last century
  • 37:30 - 37:32
    and a half.
  • 37:33 - 37:36
    Ideas have long predicates,
  • 37:36 - 37:38
    long precursors
  • 37:38 - 37:39
    They've been out there for a long
    period of time.
  • 37:39 - 37:40
    but really they've
    consolidated through
  • 37:40 - 37:41
    geochemistry, evolutionary
    biology
  • 37:41 - 37:40
    stratigraphy,
    concurrently and really importantly.
  • 37:41 - 37:41
    NS: Well,
    I wrote that chapter when I was
  • 37:41 - 37:41
    having knee surgery so
    I was thinking about
  • 37:41 - 37:41
    cartilage a whole lot.
    JM: There's a lot of
  • 37:41 - 37:41
    stuff in between there. So, actually
    Segueing from the cartilage
  • 37:41 - 37:41
    /your knee surgery,
    what implication does
  • 37:41 - 37:41
    knowing the evolutionary
    history of our bodies have for our health?
  • 37:41 - 37:41
    I know it's a full field,
    but evolution in medicines
  • 37:41 - 37:41
    NS: The most immediate thing is that
    when we think of understanding human
  • 37:41 - 37:41
    disease, the best models often lie in
    other creatures. And so what we spend
  • 37:41 - 37:41
    a whole lot of time doing, in the field of
    molecular biology is really figuring out
  • 37:41 - 37:41
    thought of the stuff in between the cells.
  • 37:41 - 37:41
    and the stuff in between cells. And I
    thought, "My goodness, I've never
  • 37:42 - 37:41
    JS: The biggest new idea I got was,
    ...you point out that bodies are made of
  • 38:38 - 38:47
    the similarities and differences among
    among genetic and developmental and
  • 38:47 - 38:50
    cellular processes say in a fish, or a
    worm, or a mouse
  • 38:50 - 38:53
    and a human. So we're doing these
    evolutionary comparisons to understand how
  • 38:57 - 38:59
    relevant
    are the insights that we gain
  • 39:00 - 39:04
    about diseases in fish to humans.
  • 39:04 - 39:06
    Where the breakthroughs of that are
    happening are fish models of melanoma.
  • 39:06 - 39:09
    fish models of Alzheimer's, fish models
    of blood diseases. And those are just the
  • 39:09 - 39:10
    fish models.
  • 39:10 - 39:14
    worm models of cancer and memory and other
    things. Understanding the workings of our
  • 39:32 - 39:36
    own bodies in ways we can't do because
    we're not a model organism, [laughter]
  • 39:36 - 39:40
    by understanding these other creatures.
    That's one of the biggest. There's others
  • 39:40 - 39:43
    but they're aesthetic. They're more than
    aesthetic. They're profound. Beautiful.
  • 39:43 - 39:45
    And this is Earth Day. This beautiful
    set of interconnections among Earth
  • 39:45 - 39:48
    and life. And that we're part of an inter-
    connected branch of the tree of life that
  • 39:48 - 39:56
    extends over three and a half billion yrs.
    with connections to the planets and the
  • 39:56 - 40:01
    the solar system and the universe beyond.
    You can't help but marvel at the beauty
  • 40:01 - 40:04
    and the grandeur of that.
  • 40:04 - 40:07
    JS: That makes me think of one more
    Ratterly compliment.
  • 40:07 - 40:10
    You're just talking about something
    that is astounding. Because, I was
  • 40:10 - 40:13
    astounded by what you wrote. You
    said, "Buck and Axel discovered something
  • 40:23 - 40:23
    truly astounding. Fully 3% of our entire
    genome is devoted to genes for detecting
  • 40:40 - 40:44
    different odors." And I thought, "Indeed
    that's astounding."
  • 40:44 - 40:48
    Why would we waste 3% of our DNA just for
    things that can smell individual molecules
  • 40:48 - 40:53
    it seems like such an interesting thing.
  • 40:55 - 40:59
    NS: Evolution is loaded with cumbersome
    devices that'll blow your mind.
  • 40:59 - 41:04
    The plumbing inside our bodies.
    The direction our vessels go it doesn't
  • 41:20 - 41:23
    make sense. But when you look at history
    it makes SO much sense. Things that don't
  • 41:23 - 41:26
    go from Point A to Point B as a straight
    line but go through all these other
  • 41:26 - 41:29
    courses. They unravel
  • 41:29 - 41:30
    that connection comes often.
    Begins to explain as we see history
  • 41:30 - 41:32
    JM: I just want to...
    JS: One more quotation.
  • 41:32 - 41:34
    [jokingly teases]
    JM: Ahh! I'm gonna strangle you, Jeff.
  • 41:34 - 41:36
    [laughter]
  • 41:36 - 41:39
    JS: This one's easy. This one's easy.
  • 41:39 - 41:41
    TEETH.
  • 41:41 - 41:44
    We think paleontologist and
    teeth. and Neil wrote, "Teeth not only
  • 41:44 - 41:47
    herald a whole new way of living, they
    reveal the design of a whole new way
  • 41:47 - 41:50
    of making organs." That is
    kind of astounding too.
  • 41:50 - 41:53
    NS: It is. But when you understand
    molecular biology and genetics, cell
  • 41:53 - 41:54
    biology, it's not just the organs that are
    important. It's the tool kit
  • 41:54 - 41:56
    that builds them.
  • 41:56 - 41:59
    JS: Well, people can read the book, and
    they will understand what that was about
  • 41:59 - 42:03
    JM: And watch the show too! They're doing
    such a great job. I love that you're going
  • 42:07 - 42:13
    Kappi one last question. What do you feel
    has been your biggest lesson through all
  • 42:13 - 42:22
    of this? Or something that has surprised
    you, that you didn't expect to learn.
  • 42:47 - 42:51
    during this time, illustrating a really
    popular book...
  • 42:51 - 42:54
    KM: Do you mean a science story that I
    learned?
  • 42:54 - 42:58
    JM: Science or in general, it's open ended
  • 42:58 - 43:02
    KM: What it has taught me is that there is
    such a wide open field for how science can
  • 43:02 - 43:06
    be communicated. We're sitting on all of
    this incredible knowledge and I would like
  • 43:06 - 43:09
    to encourage anyone who is interested in
    communicating science, whether you're on
  • 43:09 - 43:13
    the front lines of the research, you can
    think of creative ways to get research out
  • 43:13 - 43:17
    there. Or, you want to work with other
    people who, like myself, are not on the
  • 43:17 - 43:21
    frontlines but who are excited about
    communicating in a interesting and
  • 43:21 - 43:25
    innovative ways. Let's do it! Let's get it
    out there. It's exciting stuff.
  • 43:25 - 43:29
    The sky's the limit.
  • 43:29 - 43:33
    JM: I'd love to see more books
    with illustrations as well.
  • 43:33 - 43:39
    Neil, the Carl Sagan syndrome. Do you have
    any comments on that?
  • 43:39 - 43:43
    So that's an unfortunate syndrome that
    if you are a popular science communicator
  • 43:43 - 43:47
    and also a scientist you are taken less
    seriously, which I can't imagine, but
  • 44:08 - 44:12
    NS: We're in a different time period
  • Nicht synchronisiert
    Scientists
    get that we live in a social context.
  • Nicht synchronisiert
    And that social context is not always
    friendly to science. And then if you're
  • Nicht synchronisiert
    trying to get the word out to defend
    science, expand the range of people
  • Nicht synchronisiert
    who might appreciate science. I think
    there is more of an appreciation now
  • Nicht synchronisiert
    in 2014 than there was in "78/'79 when
    Carl Sagan was doing Cosmos.
  • Nicht synchronisiert
    It's totally different. Formally, the
    National Academy of Sciences, they
  • Nicht synchronisiert
    ere one of the factors behind Cosmos
    Neil Tyson's Cosmos. They went out of
  • Nicht synchronisiert
    their way.
Titel:
Get to Know "Your Inner Fish" - with Neil Shubin and Kalliope Monoyios
Beschreibung:

SA blogger and biology lecturer Joanne Manaster along with her cohost from the Read Science! program Jeff Shaumeyer will host a live chat at noon EDT on Tuesday, April 22, with paleontologist Neil Shubin and his illustrator Kalliope Monoyios (who also blogs for SA). The discussion will focus on , "Your Inner Fish," a 3-part series currently airing on PBS based on Shubin's best-selling 2009 book by the same name. 

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Video Language:
English
Team:
Scientific American
Projekt:
SA Hangout
Duration:
47:46

Untertitel in English

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