Bill Nye Saves the World season 3 recap and review

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Photo Credit: Netflix

03.05 – Evolution: The Fact of Life

Evolution is hard to see in practice because it takes time and changes are often small. Its easier to see in things that reproduce quickly, like bacteria.

Scientists reasoned that 375 million years ago some animal must have made it from the sea to land in order for land animals to evolve, and when scientists figured out where that was likely to have happened at the time and what kind of creature they were looking for, they went to find fossil evidence and they found it!

Case Study: How fast is evolution? Derek Muller visits London to investigate an unlikely tale of evolution that started with the opening of the Underground in 1863. During WWII people used the Underground tunnels as bomb shelters. Mosquitos migrated with them and started to bite humans and mammals instead of birds.

After 100 years they are now a new species of mosquito. They evolve super quickly because their life cycle is so fast, which poses a huge problem for humans trying to control the spread of mosquito-borne disease. Chelci Squires, Research Scientist Arctic Labs is working with mosquitos to test the effectiveness of various insect repellents.

Mosquitos have killed almost half the people who have ever lived on this planet and kill one million people a year even now by spreading diseases like malaria, west nile, zika, yellow fever and others. Malaria has even evolved in a way to make carriers more attractive to mosquitos than non-carriers.

Bill Needs a Minute to explain evolution. People have a hard time accepting evolution because of the word “theory”. The word means a different thing in science than how we use it in life. A theory is a special idea that has already been tested and proven.

Panel of Experts: Correspondent Derek Muller, a former Dominican priest, and biologist at University of California Irvine Francisco Ayala, Dover, Pennsylvania high school science teacher Jennifer Miller.

The school board at Dover High famously wanted intelligent design taught alongside evolution. Jennifer Miller was one of the teachers who refused to teach it and became part of the court battle which eventually overturned the school board’s decision.

Ayala says evolution isn’t necessarily at odds with faith. In fact, the Catholic church openly accepts the validity of evolution and has even been endorsed by the Pope. Ayala sees religion and evolution as two complementary ways of looking at the world rather than necessarily antagonistic or independent from each other.

MAD SCIENTISTS! with Alfred Russell Wallace (Michael Ian Black). He had a hand in discovering the theory of evolution but was mainly forgotten. He was friends with Darwin and shared his notes on evolution with him, but he never got credit when Darwin published his book.

YES! Paul F. Tompkins comes for a visit! Bill Nye uses balloons of four different colors representing the four domains of life (bacteria, vira, eukarya, and archaea). Paul pulls a lever that drops a bunch of balloons from the ceiling, each being filled with smaller balloons that represent all the different species in the different domains. Each balloon represents biodiversity.

#billmeetsciencetwitter: Behavioral ecologist from Deakin University in Geelong Australia Andrew Katsis is researching how and why zebra finches communicate with their unhatched young and how that affects their growth. Human fetuses also interact with their parents, developing behaviors based on that interaction.