From tiny cowries to giant clams, seashells have gripped human imaginations since time immemorial. In her magnificent new book, The Sound of the Sea, journalist Cynthia Barnett tells the epic history of humanity’s interactions with shells and the soft-bodied animals who make them. These stories of how we have treasured, traded, plundered, and coveted shells reveal much about who we are and who we’ve been, both good and bad. Barnett’s deep research ranges from the awe-inspiring “great cities of shell” of the Calusa people in Florida, to the use of cowrie shells as currency in the Atlantic slave trade, to the decimation of mollusk populations due to climate change and over-harvesting. In this episode, we speak with Barnett about what she describes as our “world of shell,” what shells can tell us about our past, how they have shaped our present, and how the future of shells and their animal makers is tied to our own.
YJBM and the Yale Science Diplomats (YSD) present a podcast version of our recent Science @ Brewery live event. For
more information on YJBM and our podcast, please visit medicine.yale.edu/yjbm. For
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-Investigation of fungi circadian rhythms in space: Sulzman FM, et al. Neurospora circadian rhythms in space: a reexamination of the endogenous-exogenous question. Science. 1984 Jul 13;225:232-4
-A 2008 interview with Michel Siffre: http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/30/foer.php
– Hadza chronotype study: Samson DR, et al. Chronotype variation drives night-time sentinel-like behaviour in hunter-gatherers. Proc Biol Sci. 2017;284(1858):20170967. doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.0967
– Chronotype GWAS: Jones, S. E., et al. (2019). “Genome-wide association analyses of chronotype in 697,828 individuals provides insights into circadian rhythms.” Nat Commun 10(1): 343.
– General thoughts on why we sleep and the 4 hypotheses from: Siegel, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 2009; Russel Foster, TED Global. 2013; Matthew Walker. Why We Sleep. 2017.
– Definition of sleep from: Rasch and Born, Physiol Rev. 2013
– Jellyfish study: Nath et al., 2017, Current Biology 27, 2984–2990
– Human asymmetrical sleep study: Tamaki et. al, Current Biology, 2016.
– NPR “The Haunting Effects of Going Days Without Sleep”
– Coren S. “Sleep Deprivation, Psychosis, and Mental Efficiency.” (1998) Psychiatric Times, 15:3
– Everson CA, Bergmann BM, & Rechtschaffen A. “Sleep Deprivation in the Rat: II. Methodology.” (1989) Sleep. 12(1):5-12.
– Everson CA, Bergmann BM, & Rechtschaffen A. “Sleep Deprivation in the Rat: III. Total Sleep Deprivation.” (1989) Sleep. 12(1):13-21
– Fitzgerald, CT et al. “Teen sleep and suicidality: results from the youth risk behavior surveys of 2007 and 2009.” Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM: official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine vol. 7,4 (2011): 351-6. doi:10.5664/JCSM.1188
– Beccuti, G, & Pannain, S. (2011). Sleep and obesity. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 14(4), 402–412. doi:10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283479109
– Bryant et al. (2004). “Sick and tired: Does sleep have a vital role in the immune system?” Nat Rev Immunol. 4(6):457-67. doi:10.1038/nri1369
– Perils et al. (2016) “Suicide and sleep: Is it a bad thing to be awake when reason sleeps?” Sleep Med Rev. 29:101-7. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2015.10.003
– Llorens, et al. (2017) “Fatal Familial Insomnia: Clinical Aspects and Molecular Alterations.” Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 17(4):30. doi:10.1007/s11910-017-0743-0
– The Better Sleep Council
In the 1970s, scientists proposed what has become known as the Gaia Hypothesis: the idea that earth is best understood not as a passive substrate or background to life but as a life form in its own right. Our guest, journalist Ferris Jabr, believes the time has come to revive that idea. To understand how sentient creatures have evolved on this planet, he suggests, is not only to grasp that animals—human and otherwise—are offshoots of an evolutionary tree; it’s to see the tree itself as one element of a dynamic, interrelated organism. We speak with Jabr about the art of science reporting, the limits of life, and what the white cliffs of Dover are made of.
For decades, researchers have debated whether or not animals make friends. “Friends” — the taboo “f word” — was generally put in quotes if it was used at all. But if you study the social networks of elephants, whales and other animals, it is clear that they have friends just like we do, according to Dr. Nicholas Christakis. Friendship, like other societal characteristics, evolved independently and convergently across species.
Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science, Dr. Christakis is a leading Yale sociologist and physician known for his research on human social networks and biosocial science. In this episode, he speaks with us about the ancient origins and modern implications of our common animality and his new book, Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society.
In the third installment of Yale Journal of Biology & Medicine’s series on ecology and evolution, YJBM podcast hosts Neal Ravindra and Kartiga Selvaganesan interview Richard Prum. Professor Prum is the William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology, a faculty member in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and affiliated with Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. He is also the author of the recent book, The Evolution of Beauty, which was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer prize. We discuss some of the concepts in that book and topics in his current research program during the episode.
Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine podcast hosts, Amelia Hallworth and Kelsie Cassell provide a broad overview of the topics of ecology and evolution and highlight some of the research published in YJBM’s December 2018 issue focusing on Ecology and Evolution.
As part of the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine’s quarterly issue, focusing on Ecology & Evolution, YJBM podcasters John Ventura & Huaqi Li interview Stephen Stearns, the Edward P. Bass Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale about his work.
In 2007, Dr. Irene Pepperberg said goodnight to her avian research subject, Alex, an African Grey Parrot. “You be good,” he replied. “I love you.” “I love you, too,” Dr. Pepperberg said, to which Alex asked, “You’ll be in tomorrow?” “Yes, I’ll be in tomorrow.” Alex died the next morning, prompting an international outpouring of grief that included an obituary in the Economist. We speak with Dr. Pepperberg, whose pioneering experiments with Alex revolutionized the field of avian cognition, about how she used communication as a window into his mind.