SciTech Now Episode 437

In this episode of SciTech Now, we take a look at the data behind our changing climate; Don Melnik discusses the extinction of thousands of animals and plant species; we visit the Liberty Science Center; and how GPS and tracking technology is being used on birds.

The extinction crisis

A new study is re-evaluating the extinction of thousands of animal and plant species. Leading this project is Columbia University professor and biologist Don Melnik. He joins Hari Sreenivasan to explain why he believes current extinction estimates are vastly underestimated.

Drawing dinosaurs

Paleo-artists use fossils and scientific essays to depict animals that lived millions of years ago. Paleo-artist Gabriel Ugueto reveals the aesthetic challenges he encounters when trying to accurately draw extinct animals like dinosaurs.

SciTech Now Episode 431

In this episode of SciTech Now, we explore the challenges of drawing extinct animals like dinosaurs; fabric as wearable technology; how blind fish can help humans with sleep problems; and the digestive power of goats.

What killed the dinosaurs?

Geological findings indicate that 66 million years ago, an asteroid hit the earth in an impact so strong that it lead to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Now, researchers are studying the asteroid’s landing site off the coast of  Mexico, in search of clues about how life recovered after the impact.

Abalone on the Edge

Even the smallest creatures can have a big impact on their surroundings. Abalone are sea snails that graze on algae and seaweed, keeping the ecosystem in balance. But, prized for their shells and as a seafood delicacy, overfishing and poaching have left them on the edge of extinction. The Earthfix environmental news team brings us this report from Washington state’s Puget Sound.

Does extinction matter?

Ask a Scientist: Shahid Naeem of Columbia University’s Earth Institute answers the question, “Does extinction matter?” When you think about life on Earth, we often think about how it originated three-and-a-half billion years ago and how we’ve had hundreds of millions of species originate since then. But we also think about extinction. We know that the trilobites, the ammonites, the dinosaurs are all gone, right? We also know not too long ago we lost the dodo, we lost the passenger pigeon, and today people are concerned that we’re losing maybe half of our millions of species in the next fifty years. So, it seems like extinction and origination occur at the same time. So why is extinction such a worry if they both occur and we seem to survive it?

SciTech Now Episode 38

In this episode of SciTech Now, we meet wildlife cops on the Columbia River working hard to stop poachers from catching and killing valuable sturgeon; we ask a scientist “Does extinction matter?” We go “Inside the Lab” and visit a group of Central Florida engineers who are building a flight simulator; Hari Sreenivasan sits down with MIT Professor Manolis Kellis to discuss this human epigenome; and we meet an expert at the American Museum of Natural History who explains the mysterious phenomenon dark energy.