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Next time you take a sip of your favourite microbrew and tear off a chunk of baguette piled with cheese you might wanna toast to fungi. Fungus really are among us. From high-priced morels to mold to the medicinal promise of magic mushrooms, fungi were here before us and they’ll be here long after we’re dust. They could live without us, but could we live without them? Would we want to? Listen to the story of a college kid who ran up against a shotgun wielding morel hunter in a forest in Northern Canada while on a quest to find the best patch of mushrooms. Find out what pricey mushroom smells like sweat and semen, and hear a mycologist who thinks we have a lot to learn from listening to the lowly mushroom.
Imagine if Jurassic Park came to life…ACTUAL REAL LIFE. It wouldn’t be the first time science fiction became reality. (Hello .space travel) But, this time, instead of T-Rex and Velociraptors, you’ve got long-extinct woolly mammoths roaming the arctic tundra, and the more recently extinct passenger pigeons filling the skies. This is the ambitious dream of scientists George Church (Harvard, MIT) and Ben Novak (Revive & Restore)… but is it even remotely possible? Not everyone thinks so, including our guests Mikkel Sinding and Amy Fletcher. Thirty years ago, when the original Jurassic Park came out, genome sequencing and CRISPR CAS 9 – the gene editing technology – didn’t exist. Now that they do, does it mean woolly mammoths are within reach? We discuss the why’s and how’s with our brilliant guests. And, hear about a little known connection George Church has to his one time student, Michael Crichton, the author of Jurassic Park.
Do cockroaches CREEP YOU OUT? Do spiders make you squeamish? Humans have a complicated relationship with the six and eight-legged animals we share the planet with. And yet, they need our help. We are living in what some have called the Insect Apocalypse, an alarming decline of insect species across the globe. It could mean big changes to the food we eat, and the health of the environment around us. Niki Wilson and Jay Ingram examine whether our “ICK” or “EEEEWWWW” responses to insects prevent us from helping them out, and get advice as to how we stop shuddering when we see a house spider.
Have you ever tried birdwatching at a landfill? In a world where we produce more than 2 Billion tons of garbage each year, it’s hardly surprising that those mountains of waste have developed a life of their own. From landfills to small town dumps to scraps of food left behind by tourists in the Galapagos Islands, animals are evolving in big and small ways because of their proximity to our waste. Whether it’s Darwin’s finches or Edmonton’s coyotes, animals that live near humans have a Disneyland of potential food sources. It’s also full of potential risks. Join Niki Wilson and Jay Ingram as they explore Trash Animals and how our perceptions of these creators are impacting how we treat them.
The extraordinary saga of the world’s most common bird: combatant, experimental subject, entrée and friend (not necessarily in this order). The chicken is far more meaningful to our lives than you ever imagined. They can count, recognize faces and are capable of deception. We trace the history of the humble chicken from its wild beginnings as the Red Jungle Fowl in Southeast Asia all the way to the broiler chicken of today, and finally to the modern backyard chicken craze.
From My Octopus teacher to BBC’s latest hit The Green Planet, wildlife documentaries continue to draw millions of viewers. But are they good for wildlife? We discuss with top doc makers, and get the inside scoop on working with Sir David Attenborough. We also uncover one the biggest wildlife myths of all time (thanks Disney), and ask, is Tik Tok really where it’s at for wildlife media?
Anthropomania is back for another season of putting our relationship with all living things under the microscope. First episode drops March 15th, featuring the rockstars of the nature documentary world. Did My Octopus Teacher blow you away? Do you love BBC’s Planet Earth (and all the rest)? That’s the tip of the iceberg. Join hosts Jay Ingram and Niki Wilson as they make you think about how you think about the world around you.
Urban wildlife – that’s everything from pigeons to coyotes to possums to deer, depending where you live – can be found in every nook and cranny of our cities, but just how well do we know our neighbours? Join Niki, Jay and Erika as they explore the world just outside your window with the scientists that know urban wildlife best. Are coyotes the Batman of our cities? Do raccoons have street smarts? Are there mutant mosquitoes living in our underground tunnels? It’s a concrete jungle out there, and it’s wilder than you think.
The most striking thing about taxidermy is that it is so far removed from what most of us think.
That stuffed deer head on the wall? Entertainment. The work done by the taxidermists in this episode, like George Dante, who preserved the remains of the famous Galapagos tortoise Lonesome George, or Allis Markham, who specialises in hummingbirds? That’s art, science and imagination. That is taxidermy.
From birds to bamboo, wild boars to Colombian hippos, invasive species are wreaking havoc on eco-systems around the world, and in your backyard. Canadian ecology rock-star Ryan Brook has been tracking wild boars for years and says it’s only a matter of time before the pigs outnumber humans in Saskatchewan, Canada. Eradicating them has proven challenging, and conservationist Arian Wallach says, don’t bother, it’s a waste of time. The boars are too smart. Join Erika, Jay and Niki as they look at invasive species from two very different perspectives.
If your Instagram feed is any indication, plants have blossomed into an obsession. But, is #PlantParenting a one-way relationship, or does Rob the Rubber Plant have feelings about your new #greenthumb?
In this episode, Erika, Niki and Jay explore this thorny issue with pioneering plant researchers Ian Baldwin, Jack Schultz and Monica Gagliano. Mi’kmaw narrative artist and conservation ecologist Shalan Joudry challenges us to explore the language and intention we use to describe plants, and to understand how this affects our relationship with them.
Rich newspaper Tycoon William Randolph Hearst once owned one of the world’s largest private zoos, home to everything from sun bears to storks to elephants.
Erika, Niki and Jay dive into the deep desires of the wealthy to own exotic animals, with the help of psychologist Suzanne MacDonald and animal ethicist James Serpell. The team time travels to the 7th Century with archaeologist Lisa Cooper, and then asks if Tik Tok is the exotic zoo of the future. It’s a wild ride through the world of ancient kings, drug kings, and yes, tiger kings
Do animals have their own distinct personalities? Dogs? Sure. Apes? Absolutely. What about fish? Or, snakes? For decades this was a taboo subject in the hallowed halls of scientific research.
What exactly is animal personality, anyway? How’s it different from your personality?
Jay, Niki and Erika debate the issues, talk with Herzog and Gosling. Oh, and they take a quiz and find out which animal personality they most resemble. Hint: not everyone was thrilled.
Story-driven, science-based examination of the weird and wonderful relationship between humans and all types of wildlife. If you love the planet, you’ll love Anthropomania.
A snake with personality. A plant that feels. Feral boars and cocaine hippos. A world famous taxidermist who sings like Roy Orbison. Why do we have such complex relationships with wildlife? We examine all this and more in our first season of Anthropomania.
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First episode drops March 15, 2021.
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