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Welcome to Crash Course Zoology! In this fourteen-episode series made in partnership with PBS and Nature, Crash Course Zoology will take a rapid deep dive into the weird and wonderful biology of animals. Host, wildlife ecologist, and conservation scientist, Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant will guide us across the tree of life as we endeavor to answer what makes an animal an animal anyway? We’ll explore the current state of the world and how it's evolving with in-depth looks at particular animals, show how the science is applied, and even take you along for the journey with day-in-the-lives of some astonishing creatures.

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#CrashCourse #Zoology #PBSNature
Hi, I’m wildlife ecologist Dr.

Rae Wynn-Grant, and welcome to Crash

Course: Zoology!  I’ve been studying wild animals in their natural habitats for more than 15 years, and. I’m just getting started. I discovered my interest in wild animals when I was a kid -- I would sit and watch nature shows for hours on end and wanted to explore the animal kingdom just like the hosts I saw on tv. I later learned that there are entire fields of science dedicated to the study of wild animals!

Zoology is the study of those animals and their traits, and how and why they are the way they are. And the scientists who study zoology are zoologists who investigate big questions about how millions of species changed their form and function over time, and how they’re related to each other and the rest of the Earth. Others are making medicine from spider venom, learning how to regrow limbs from axolotls, or turning hagfish slime into bulletproof vests.

Zoology is a big field and it overlaps with many more. Like ecology, where we study how living things are related to each other and their physical surroundings. These days my work focuses on the way animal behavior can change in environments where humans are present.

The work I do helps us better understand wild animals, and also helps us develop the science to save endangered species from going extinct.  It’s super fun, but also very challenging work. I travel around the world and have worked on 6 of the 7 continents studying lowland gorillas in central Africa, grizzly bears in North America, ring tail lemurs in Madagascar, cougars in California, lions in Tanzania, and more. Oh my!

And those are just 5 of the 1.5 million animal species we know about and have described in the scientific record. There are millions more out there that are yet to be discovered. And within their incredible diversity, there are many wildly different animals, with surprising adaptations and behaviors.

Every single one of them is unique, and at the same time, related. The next 14 episodes will give you a taste of the incredible diversity in the animal kingdom and the surprising ways they’ve adapted to life on Earth.   We’re going to dive deep into how animals are constructed and how they work, what they eat, how they sense their environment, and how they behave. And through it all, we’ll show you how evolution has shaped almost everything about them, and how the only way to make sense of the truly wild level of diversity in animals is by examining change over time.

We’ll spend a whole episode about animals that live inside other animals, and a chunk of another episode about animals that sense electricity and magnetic fields. Just wait until you hear how many beetles there are, or how sea apples evolved, lost, and then evolved their current body shape and lifestyle again.  It’s a wild world out there, hundreds of millions of years in the making, and zoology can give us the tools to make sense of it all. I’ll see you next episode!

Thanks for watching this episode of Crash Course Zoology which was produced by Complexly in partnership with PBS and NATURE. It is shot on the Team Sandoval Pierce stage at Porchlight Studios in Santa Barbara, California and made with the help of all these nice people. If you’d like to help keep Crash Course free for everyone, forever, you can join our community on Patreon.