Giraffe Nerves and Clean Water: Two Videos I Like

I came across two YouTube videos recently that have nothing to do with one another except that (1) they could be useful to biology teachers and (2) they caught my attention recently. Without further ado, I’ll share …


The big meaty-looking thing? That’s the giraffe’s neck!

First, a student sent this video about the nerve that leads from a giraffe’s brain to its larynx. Don’t be fooled by the esoteric topic; it’s a great story about homology and the evidence for evolution. Logically, this nerve should be short, because the distance from the brain to the larynx is not very long. The video shows a real-life dissection of a giraffe’s neck to demonstrate that the nerve loops down from the brain, all the way to the heart, and back up the neck to the larynx. Toward the end of the video, an animation shows how an anatomical arrangement that suits fish perfectly — remember, fish basically have no neck — has been remodeled throughout evolutionary time. Richard Dawkins is on the scene too, using the imagery from the dissection and animation to say that any route this cumbersome could not possibly come from “intelligent design.” What a great tool to help students understand homology.


The second video is from AsapSCIENCE, and it is called “What if You Stopped Drinking Water?” I expected it to be about human physiology, and it is, but it also covers so much more: the search for life on other planets, chemistry, behavioral experiments, global water resources, agriculture, pollution, and advocacy on behalf of several organizations dedicated to clean water. (In fact, revenue earned from the video will be donated to a clean water project.) I love finding ways to tie together biology at all scales, and this video offers an ideal connection between chemistry, human biology, ecology, and community service.

Have other videos you love to show in class? Please post a comment and let me know!



This entry was posted in Engaging students, Evolution, Instructional technology, Just for fun, Learning at home, Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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