Daniel Lieberman is a professor in the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard. He says that the notion of "getting exercise" — movement just for movement's sake — is a relatively new phenomenon in human history. His new book is Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding.
In The Story of the Human Body, evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman explains how our bodies haven't adapted to modern conditions. The result is "mismatch diseases" -- ailments that occur because our bodies weren't designed for the environments in which we now live.
Thor Hanson's new book looks at the evolutionary significance of feathers in birds. Hanson tells Fresh Air that he's amazed by birds' magnitude of feathers, how feathers grow and how they're the "most efficient insulation known."
Have you ever wondered about the personal life of the man who developed the theory of evolution? On today's Fresh Air, the conservationist Randal Keynes — Charles Darwin's great-great grandson — talks about the man behind the science: his relationship with his wife, Emma, and how they handled the death of their daughter. In 2002, Keynes wrote a book on the subject called Annie's Box, which shares personal letters and diaries documenting how Darwin cared for his daughter in the last months of her life. The book is the basis for the new film Creation.
Nicholas Wade, science reporter for The New York Times, examines what we've learned about our human ancestors using the latest techniques in DNA analysis in his new book, Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors.
He was the co-leader of the team that discovered three very important skulls in Ethiopia. The human remains are about 160,000 years old and offer evidence of the earliest ancestors of modern humans. They bolster the theory that modern humans emerged in Africa and are not related to Neanderthals, who lived in Europe. White is a professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley.
In her new guide to the evolutionary biology of sex, Judson explores the sex lives of animals and insects. Posing as Dr. Tatiana, sex-advice columnist, she answers "letters" posted by such creatures as the fairy wren, the stalk-eyed fly and the African elephant. Her new book is Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation. Judson has also written for The Economist, Nature and Science. This interview first aired Aug. 13, 2002.
Evolutionary biologist and journalist Olivia Judson. In her new guide to the evolutionary biology of sex, Judson, explores the sex lives of animals and insects. Posing as Dr Tatiana, sex-advice columnist, she answers 'letters' posted by such creatures as the fairy wren, the stalk-eyed fly, and the African elephant. Her new book is Dr Tatianas Sex Advice to All Creation.. Judson has also written for The Economist,Nature, and Science.
We remember paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould. He died Monday at the age of 60. Gould was a professor of geology at Harvard and curator of the university's Museum of Comparative Zoology. He wrote columns for Natural History Magazine and Discover Magazine, and had written several books, including the award-winning The Mismeasure of Man. Gould used his writing and teaching to demystify the scientific method and to provide a historical perspective on science for the layman.
Doctor Mel Greaves, author of Cancer: The Evolutionary Legacy (Oxford University Press. Greaves is professor of cell biology and director of the Leukemia Research Fund Centre for Cell and Molecular Biology at the Institute of Cancer Research in London. Greaves places cancer in its evolutionary context, using examples from the 15th century to the most contemporary research. Greaves talks about the importance of looking at cancer through a Darwinian lens. He says there may be implications for research, prevention, and treatment.
Science writer David Quammen's new book is "The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions" (Scribner). During his eight years of research, Quammen studied the biogeography of islands around the world. His travels introduced him to plants and animals previously unimagined. Quammen is a two-time recipient of the National Magazine Award for his science essays and other work in Outside magazine.
Today it was announced that scientists had unearthed in Ethiopia the first nearly complete skull of the earliest recognized human ancestors. It's that of a male who lived three million years ago, giving a face to the species first identified in 1974 with the discovery of the skeleton named "Lucy." Paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson discovered Lucy and was part of the team to make this new discovery. The discovery could settle the debate of whether various fossils from this time period were from a single species, Australopithecus afarensis, or from different species.
John Leonard reviews "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors," the new book by husband-and-wife team Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, about the origin of life on our planet, and the similarity between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom.
Paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould. Gould is a professor of geology and curator at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. He writes columns for "Natural History Magazine" and "Discover Magazine," and has written several books, including the award-winning "The Mismeasure of Man." Gould uses his writing and teaching to illuminate and demystify the scientific method and to provide a historical perspective on science for the layman.