Through the Gates at IU feat. Ellen Ketterson
"In episode 71, Dean Shanahan speaks to Distinguished Professor of Biology Ellen Ketterson about her research and her leadership of the Prepared for Environmental Change Team—one of Indiana University's Grand Challenges." Listen here!
Extraordinary Ordinary Junco
Description of the video:
Narrator: Say hello to the Junco. A bird that at first glance does not seem all too glamorous, even to dedicated bird watchers. But for scientists interested in evolution and animal behavior the junco is a rock star
Speaker 1: Oh man, look at that!
For nearly a hundred years, juncos have been the subject of ground breaking scientific research.
Speaker 1: Juncos have taught us a lot about ourselves. For example, how hormones like testosterone influence social behavior. People are more like birds than we would have ever have guessed.
Narrator: The same bird that can be found in your back yard inhabits some of the most isolated and remote habitats on the continent.
Speaker 1: [Just like] When around the world like how you wouldn’t expect all the people to look alike, around the country you find that all juncos don’t look alike.
Narrator: From the Appalachian mountains of Virginia to the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyomings Grand Tetons to the highlands of Guatemala the mountains of Baja and a remote island nearly 200 miles off the western coast of Mexico, researchers set out to understand behavior, physiology, and genetic makeup of a bird that is perhaps one of the worlds greatest examples of diversification and rapid evolution.
Speaker 1: If you want to understand evolution in action, the process of forming new species, then the junco is the bird to study.
Speaker 2: Evolution isn’t something that happened a long time ago. It’s something that happens every day. The complexity of the junco can be subtle but it can be obvious as well. A whole spectrum of variation from the grosses to the subtles.
Narrator: As juncos continue to adapt to modern man and the changing climate around him, they introduce as many questions as answers.
Speaker 3: So one of the big questions in evolutionary biology is how species are formed, what are the relative roles of natural selection and sexual selection and these .. processes.
Narrator: Join an international team of scientists on their quest for knowledge as they set out to understand the natural world by studying this amazing groups of birds and introduce yourself to the Ordinary yet Extraordinary Junco.