Best Biointeractive podcasts we could find (Updated February 2019)
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Short documentary films for science education, focused on genetics, biology, earth science, evolution.
 
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Watch the story of how gene therapy restored the sight of a nearly-blind young patient. Told from the perspective of two researchers who spent over 25 years working to develop this breakthrough technology, this short film chronicles their successes and challenges, and illustrates how the method works to treat inherited conditions.…
 
Keystone species and trophic cascades are fundamental concepts in ecology. This short film tells the story of how these concepts were first established through the pioneering experiments of two young researchers: Robert Paine and James Estes.
 
Forty years ago in Laetoli, Tanzania, a team of paleontologists discovered a set of 3.6-million-year-old fossil footprints of early hominids —likely our ancestors. The team was led by Mary Leakey, the pioneering subject of this animated feature. The film covers many highlights of her career and her relationship with her research partner and hus ...…
 
In 1938, South African museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer came across a strange blue fin poking out of a pile of fish. With its fleshy, lobed fins and its tough armored scales, the coelacanth did not look like any other fish that exists today. The coelacanth belongs to a lineage that has remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of milli ...…
 
Our human ancestors in Africa likely had dark skin, which is produced by an abundance of the pigment eumelanin in skin cells. In the high ultraviolet (UV) environment of sub-Saharan (or equatorial) Africa, darker skin offers protection from the damaging effects of UV radiation. Dr. Jablonski explains that the variation in skin color that evolve ...…
 
This animated short tells the story of Alfred Wegener, a German astronomer and atmospheric scientist, who came up with the idea that continents once formed a single landmass and had drifted apart. Continental drift explained why continents' shapes fit together like pieces of a puzzle and why distant continents had the same fossils . During Wege ...…
 
Ten thousand years ago, corn didn't exist anywhere in the world, and until recently scientists argued vehemently about its origins. Today the crop is consumed voraciously by us, by our livestock, and as a major part of processed foods. So where did it come from? Popped Secret: The Mysterious Origin of Corn tells the story of the genetic changes ...…
 
The discovery of Archaeopteryx in a quarry in Germany in the early 1860s provided the first clue that birds descended from reptiles. But what kind of reptile? In the last 40 years, scientists have identified many shared features between birds and two-legged carnivorous dinosaurs called theropods.
 
Paleontologists have studied the fossil record of human evolution just like they have done for other major transitions, including the evolution of tetrapods from fish and the evolution of birds from dinosaurs. In this film, part of the Great Transitions trilogy, Sean Carroll and Tim White discuss the most important human fossils and how they il ...…
 
In 1674, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek looked at a drop of lake water through his homemade microscope and discovered an invisible world that no one knew existed. His work inspired countless microbiology researchers, including HHMI investigator Bonnie Bassler, one of the narrators of this animated feature. Leeuwenhoek was a haberdasher and city offici ...…
 
Growing up near Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, Tonga Torcida has dreamt of becoming a tour guide at the park. But when he meets and gets to work with ant biologist E.O. Wilson in the park, his views of the world around him—and of his future—drastically change. Torcida decides to pursue a career in science and work to ensure that the par ...…
 
In his book On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin boldly predicted that buried deep in the earth would be creatures with features that were intermediate between those of ancestral and modern groups. At the time no such fossils had been found, and Darwin's critics immediately seized on that fact to refute the theory of evolution. But since Da ...…
 
This animated short video tells the story of Alfred Russel Wallace, who independently formulated the theory of evolution by natural selection at the same time as Charles Darwin. Co-directed by Flora Lichtman and Sharon Shattuck of Sweet Fern Production, the video tracks A. R. Wallace's life from growing up in England to his voyages with Henry W ...…
 
In the early 1800s, most people, scientists included, accepted as fact that every species was specially created by God in a form that never changed. The epic voyages and revolutionary insights of two brave young British naturalists, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, overturned this long-held idea. Prodigious collectors of animals and pl ...…
 
Over the past four decades, evolutionary biologists Rosemary and Peter Grant have documented the evolution of the famous Galápagos finches by tracking changes in body traits directly tied to survival, such as beak length, and identified behavioral characteristics that prevent different species from breeding with one another. Their pioneering st ...…
 
Working in the islands of the Caribbean, biologist Jonathan Losos has discovered the traits that enable dozens of anole species to adapt to different vertical niches in the forest. While differences in limb length, body shape, and toepad size allow different species to flourish on the ground, on thin branches, or high in the canopy, changes in ...…
 
James Watson and Francis Crick collected and interpreted key evidence to determine that DNA molecules take the shape of a twisted ladder--a double helix. The film presents the challenges, false starts, and eventual success of their bold chase, culminating in the classic 1953 publication in Nature on the structure of DNA. Watson relates what tho ...…
 
Human babies drink milk; it's the food especially provided for them by their mothers. Various cultures have also added the milk of other mammals to their diet and adults think nothing of downing a glass of cows' milk. But worldwide, only a third of adults can actually digest lactose, the sugar in milk. In this short film we follow human genetic ...…
 
After the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago, populations of marine stickleback fish became stranded in freshwater lakes dotted throughout the northern Hemisphere in places of natural beauty like Alaska and British Columbia. These remarkable little fish have adapted and thrive, living permanently in a freshwater environment drastically di ...…
 
The disappearance of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period posed one of the greatest, long-standing scientific mysteries. This three-act film tells the story of the extraordinary detective work that solved it. Shot on location in Italy, Spain, Texas, Colorado, and North Dakota, the film traces the uncovering of key clues that led to ...…
 
The rock pocket mouse is a living example of Darwin's process of natural selection. Not only is evolution happening right now everywhere around us, but adaptive changes can occur in a population with remarkable speed. This speed is essential if you're a desert mouse living in an environment where a volcanic eruption can reverse selective pressu ...…
 
For life to survive, it must adapt and readapt to an ever-changing Earth. The discovery of the Antarctic icefish has provided a stunning example of adaptation in an environment both hostile and abundant, where the birth of new genes and the death of old ones have played crucial roles. Researchers Bill Detrich, Christina Cheng, and Art DeVries h ...…
 
In some parts of the world, there is an intimate connection between the infectious parasitic disease malaria and the genetic disease sickle cell anemia. A keenly observant young man named Tony Allison, working in East Africa in the 1950s, first noticed the connection and assembled the pieces of the puzzle. His story stands as the first and one ...…
 
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