Animalia (9-11)

Have you ever wondered why a cheetah runs as fast as it does? Or why it is possible to take a skin graft from any cheetah in the world and attach it to any other without even the slightest chance of rejection?  Did you know that dung beetles use celestial navigation to help them roll their balls of poop away from rhino toilets so that other beetles won’t come along and commit fecal theft? If birds once had four wings (and some did), how do you think they would have flown? Did they fly at all? Might the spit of a worm off the coast of California prove the vital compound we need to glue shattered bones back together? Why is the electric eel electric and how far off are we from using what we know of this eel to create biological batteries?

During Animalia we will study animal interactions in the wild, discover how many of the “facts” we thought we knew about these creatures are merely myths, explore the countless ways in which animals and their specialised abilities are shaping modern science and, perhaps most importantly, ask ourselves “how did animals get to be the way they are in the first place?”

This course will include an overnight trip to San Diego Wild Animal park for further explorations of the topic.

Matt Kaplan