An evolution music video

I’m not really keen on music videos that portray science, for in general they’re pretty dire.  But this one, from the Symphony of Science, is a little better than usual—if you can stand some of our favorite science popularizes autotuned—but it’s not very enlightening. Some of the images, however, are good.

However, you can refresh your knowledge by

  • Identifying the principals (not hard)
  • Figure out where Attenborough is walking at the beginning: it’s a very famous place
  • Identifying the birds at 2:00 and the lizard at 1:01
  • Finding the mistake in the characterization of natural selection at 2:29
  • Recognizing which words come from On the Origin of Species
  • Knowing what’s wrong with the statement, “We’re all made of DNA”

h/t: Greg Mayer


  1. Dominic
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    All made BY DNA, which constructs proteins that do all the work.

  2. Posted January 23, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    He’s walking on Darwin’s sandwalk….

  3. Glenn Butler
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Attenborough is walking the path close to Down House, the path Darwin walked daily.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted January 23, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      And he appears to be sitting on the rocks of ‘The Beacon’ in North West Leicestershire. These are really old rocks not far from where the first identified Precambrian fossil was found.

  4. Posted January 23, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    The lizard is one of the Basiliscus. Aka Jesus Lizard for it’s ability to walk on water. Sort of!

    The birds, I know not, the first is a Bird of Paradise, but I’ve no idea which one, the others are possibly Grebes. But I might be wrong.

    Actually, the song isn’t all that bad – I made it to the end anyway!


    • Posted January 23, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Damn! Posessive apostrophe on “it’s” – please “tippex” it out, it shouldn’t be there!

    • Pete Moulton
      Posted January 23, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Norm, those are indeed grebes, Clark’s Grebes, to be specific.

      • Posted January 23, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Thanks Pete.

        I’ve seen them on one or other of David Attenborough’s fine documentaries, just couldn’t remember their names.


    • microraptor
      Posted January 23, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Yeah, those are Grebes.

      And I live in a building that looks out at that lake.

      • Marella
        Posted January 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Lucky you!

  5. Posted January 23, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    I love Symphony of Science! The montage of documentaries introduced me to the great science populizers (yes, I have been living under a rock thank you!) and I’ve been hunting for each documentary since. The clips of Feynman and Brian Cox ultimately sparked an interest in physics and helped me discover what I want to be when I grow up (I’m heading back to school at 33 to become a High School Physics teacher). This wasn’t my favorite video of his, but it was about time he devoted one to evolution.

    • Posted January 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Au contraire. It’s really the second.

      Jerry’s being a little scroogey here! The Symphony of Science videos have done a LOT of good. Some are musically quite lovely.

      • Posted January 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        Damn, you’re right. I have them all in a playlist too that I run almost daily, I should have known better.

  6. Lauri Törmä
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    ”but it’s not very enlightening.”

    You are just jealous because PZ and Dawkins are in SOS and you aren’t.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted January 23, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Give me a fricking break.

      • Exrelayman
        Posted January 23, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        I made this prayer to heavens once. A voice boomed down from the clouds, “Arm or leg?”

    • Marella
      Posted January 23, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps we should get up a petition to have Jerry featured in one, he has a sonorous voice which should autotune nicely I would have thought. 😉

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 1:22 am | Permalink

      These don’t do much for me, either. But to each his own; see commenters in thread 5.

      • Posted January 24, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        They aren’t for everyone. They drive my wife nuts, she hates the autotune. I’m not sure how much material there is to work with for Jerry, but if there is something to be done on the subject of vestigial traits we always have Jerry’s ears:

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 25, 2012 at 2:35 am | Permalink

          Cripes–what does it mean that I can’t do that with my ears?!

          (Thanks–fun vid. 🙂 )

          • Bruce S. Springsteen
            Posted January 25, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

            Those muscles were put there to help us shuffle our glasses back up our noses. Best of all possible worlds.

            • Diane G.
              Posted January 27, 2012 at 1:53 am | Permalink

              No, no. That would be a muscle that remembered where we last set down our glasses…

  7. ray perrins
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Mischaracterisation of natural selection: there isn’t a goal. It is just that if an organism doesn’t reproduce, its characteristics won’t get passed to the next generation. I’m finding it difficult to express, so here is an example: it isn’t that a warbler feeds its young with the goal of raising the next generation, it is rather the result of thousands of previous generations where the behaviour of feeding young would have been rather strongly selected for! Otherwise cuckoos would have a hard time. Hopefully Jerry can express it better!

  8. Romain M
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    “There is grandeur in this view of life” is from the Origin of Species, at the very end if I reckon correctly.

  9. Ollipehkonen
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    At 2:29…
    Animals strive to put their genes in maximum numbers into the next generation. This could lead to extreme overpopulation, which would be harmful for the survival of that generation. But in general it turns out to be a successful method of ensuring survival, though survival is not precisely what they strive for.

    Or I could be mistaken, in which case I’m sure some of you will correct me.

  10. Posted January 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on rubanahedh.

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