By mackenmurphy.org

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"The host, Macken Murphy, is able to condense vast chunks of information into engaging and digestible episodes. Fact-filled and fun." — The New York Times

Episode Date
Updates | 1.15.23

I'm extremely busy and, unfortunately, pausing production on Species, at least for most of this month. If you sent me a donation in January and you want a refund, contact me through mackenmurphy.org, and I will be sure to send it back to you. My sincerest apologies.

Jan 16, 2023
Master of Puppets | Dr. Robert Plomin

"DNA isn't all that matters, but it matters more than everything else put together."

—Dr. Robert Plomin

Blueprint: https://mitpress.mit.edu/9780262039161/blueprint/

Plomin is one of history's most important psychologists and a pioneer in the field of behavioral genetics. He is a research professor at King's College London, best known for his work on twins. In this podcast, Plomin explains how we know that genes impact our behavior, clarifies all the common confusions about the field, and pushes back against some of Macken's criticisms. Enjoy.

Dec 26, 2022
Updates | 12.18.22

TikTok @mackenmurphy: https://www.tiktok.com/@mackenmurphy

YouTube @murphymacken (I would buy the @mackenmurphy handle from you, if you have it): https://www.youtube.com/@murphymacken

Dec 19, 2022
Mimic Octopus

Nature's greatest shapeshifter, the mimic octopus is known for their spectacular impersonations of other species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CrxPPq4mAJpmmQTFIh51KzoHa1SZZv5C4dF-KyFB0ik/edit?usp=sharing

Dec 05, 2022
Gossiping for Mates | Dr. Tania Reynolds

Women compete vigorously over mates but do so more subtly than men. In this episode, Dr. Tania Reynolds teaches us how women use gossip to win mates. Additionally, we discuss friendship, thinness, and the evolution of homosexuality, among other subjects.

Tania Reynolds is an assistant professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of New Mexico. Her research examines how intrasexual competition and cooperation contribute to psychological and behavioral sex differences. She investigates how pressures for humans' ancestors to select advantageous social allies—and be selected in return—contribute to modern-day preferences, biases, and behaviors.

Connect with Dr. Reynolds on Twitter @TaniaArline, and keep up with her work using the links below:

Department webpage: https://psych.unm.edu/people/faculty/profile/tania-reynolds.html

Research: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tania-Reynolds


Nov 21, 2022
Vegetarian Spider

This spider, Bagheera kiplingi, prefers a plant-based diet. Come learn about trees that pay ant security guards in gold, The Jungle Book, and an exceptional animal on this episode of Species.



Nov 06, 2022
Guinea Pig

Not from Guinea, not a pig.

Upcoming live events...

10 AM on October 26th: https://www.talesonmoonlane.co.uk/halftermfestival

2 PM on October 26th: https://www.moonlaneink.co.uk/moonlanestorytellingworkshops

2 PM on October 27th: https://www.moonlaneramsgate.com/

Oct 18, 2022
White-Tailed Deer

Come learn about predator-prey communication, Bambi, and the most-hunted big game animal in America on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1l947u7nmpJ-6e4_wkQt29WH7Lki-8I_hZLDFBhOWZfg/edit?usp=sharing

Oct 02, 2022
California Condor

Find out how sock puppets aided the most insane conservation effort in history and learn everything about America's biggest bird.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SA3gYa9Xrq-sZxWkkqGWBbEbB1X0ZaaUGlFqLg-NN9w/edit?usp=sharing

Sep 19, 2022
State of Affairs | Dr. Brooke Scelza

Infidelity is almost ubiquitous among the Himba, an indigenous group of pastoralists living in Namibia and Angola. In this episode, I speak with a human behavioral ecologist who can help us understand why.

UCLA's Professor Brooke Scelza (@bascelza) has studied reproductive decision-making in these people for about a decade. Her fascinating work has made progress towards understanding the rationale behind patterns of parental investment, fosterage, and infidelity. In this podcast, we focus on the last item on this list. Come learn about an interesting culture and view infidelity through a new lens on this episode of Species. 

Aug 22, 2022

An essay about birds, music, and evolution.


Aug 07, 2022

How come some Christians risk their lives to hold snakes? Why do snakes have forked tongues? Do snakes "see" heat? Listen and learn the answers to all these questions and more!

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14zL71mi0U2QGOdivbE_-ZomBBXVXDOKXc49R0yGR0UA/edit?usp=sharing


Jul 25, 2022

Come learn about a singing, (mostly) monogamous acrobat!

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1O9830gFU8gHBDzF70JSwqo-mvwq3dZ7VogcX3rFzDS0/edit?usp=sharing


Jul 10, 2022

This microscopic animal can survive in outer space. Find out how and learn about the toughest animal on earth (and off of it) by listening to today's episode!

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NXu2AzNhIj7V_9jcISMvxolWlCAim0uzCLveJDYuFtQ/edit?usp=sharing


Jun 26, 2022
Updates | 4.24.22

Exam season is upon us. Until exams finish, I will be taking a hiatus from the show to focus. Donors, please feel free to pause donations until then; there are never any hard feelings from me, only gratitude towards you. Until we return, please feel free to enjoy the back catalogue, and the content below. - MM

Animal Sidekicks: https://neonsquidbooks.com/books/animal-sidekicks/

Sentientist Conversations (definitely not for children): https://youtu.be/vzn-AhproxE

Human Evolution: https://frstre.com/go/?a=95595-7e38d9&s=1771291-5cf1d5&p_affiliate.referral_code=mackenmurphy

(If you can't afford a Listenable subscription, just use the free trial to listen and then cancel. Also: I get 30% of your subscription if you subscribe through that link, and you can get 30% off online using the promo code: mackenmurphy)

Thank you so much for your support through the years, the journey is far from over.

Apr 24, 2022
Japanese Spider Crab

This crab could give your car a hug. Come learn about Scottish fairies and fisheries on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14X6sb9dx9wHqwiiPkm2-nLdnBuFYFXKOL_GzZq7dhkc/edit?usp=sharing

Mar 27, 2022
Parasitic Jaeger

95% of this bird's food is stolen. Come learn about the greatest pirate in the animal kingdom and the largest cash heist in world history on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ESVjx91TyWn3VeJc9dmuYHFCbmb9IEyDvfrKzfh7H48/edit?usp=sharing

Mar 06, 2022
How Love Evolved | Dr. Helen Fisher

Why did love evolve? In this episode, we hear from Dr. Helen Fisher about the three different kinds of love, how they benefited our ancestors, and how we can use our knowledge of them to improve our romantic lives. She gives us data-driven advice on how to choose a partner and how to keep your relationship happy through the months, years, and decades.

Dr. Helen Fisher is arguably the world’s leading expert on romantic love. She is a biological anthropologist working as the chief science advisor at Match.com. Her TED talks have been viewed millions of times, she is the author of several books, and you can find her wonderful content at her website: https://helenfisher.com/

Feb 20, 2022
Brown Bear

They run faster than Usain Bolt, they swim faster than Michael Phelps, they're stronger than Eddie Hall, and they're taller than Yao Ming. Come learn about brown bears on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1poCmUlq0fHLEfTgdCDLjfSKcN-9PfRzN2wU3I1eJZFA/edit?usp=sharing


Feb 07, 2022
Altruism's Allure

Why do bad animals do good things? In this episode, Macken discusses some of the main reasons why humans do good, and dives into one of the little-known benefits of altruism.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xc7hdGeVLuz-oqGH3jemg5lUzcGaL9aWXbfCOkvnXC0/edit?usp=sharing

Jan 17, 2022
Giant Centipede

Come learn about the biggest centipede on earth, discover their insane hunting habits, and hear two big pieces of news from the millipede world on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/12oT7p-aCayqmddyGQ4ZS-bRFpOlcuJSylk063_LJOZA/edit?usp=sharing

Dec 27, 2021
Misbehavioral Biology | Dr. David Buss

When Men Behave Badly: https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/david-buss-phd/when-men-behave-badly/9780316419352/

Dr. David Buss is the most referenced evolutionary psychologist in history, and one of the most influential psychologists on earth. In this episode, he joins us to explain conflict between the sexes, sexual selection theory, infidelity, intimate partner violence and abuse, stalking, and how evolutionary insights can benefit people, This episode is not intended for all audiences.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kRFXSoSMUafUbevcXzg8UEkF5Qc0NzSAO56Bghm-8aM/edit?usp=sharing

Dec 13, 2021
Your Brain Isn't as Big as It Thinks

What's so special about the human brain?

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10525CfbVLmhaWARU6YaXz8ZGG-byTemSKE8C4dPst2w/edit?usp=sharing

If you would like to learn about human evolution, listen to Macken's audio course here: https://frstre.com/go/?a=95595-7e38d9&s=1771291-5cf1d5&p_affiliate.referral_code=mackenmurphy 

This is my affiliate link, I get 30% of your subscription if you sign up here. If you use the promo code "mackenmurphy," you get 30% off yours.

Nov 28, 2021

The honeyguide is, perhaps, humanity's oldest friend. We share a symbiotic relationship that is among the most complicated examples of mutualism in naturethe only natural instance of human cooperation with a wild animal. Come learn about one of Macken's favorite creatures on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ne_SqZRXQZVcVEfIA5D69x-50n8OZuvS1HV1c5yRp-0/edit?usp=sharing

If you would like to learn about human evolution, listen to Macken's audio course here: https://frstre.com/go/?a=95595-7e38d9&s=1771291-5cf1d5&p_affiliate.referral_code=mackenmurphy 

This is my affiliate link, I get 30% of your subscription if you sign up here. If you use the promo code "mackenmurphy," you get 30% off yours!

Nov 14, 2021
Siamese Fighting Fish

How do you breed betta fish in a US prison? How come betta bubbles don't pop? Why do betta fish gulp air? And what does this have to do with self-defense law? Come get your answers to these questions, and learn a bit about violence, on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Sn0h_hpL06L3Ct27ah01AcMMSHoMpOoqJ1mVIyLa84s/edit?usp=sharing

Oct 24, 2021

Welcome back! Thank you all for your support and patience over the summer. Come learn about what the platypus has in common with sharks, snakes, beavers, ducks, hamsters, and a bunch of other animals in this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dkovdm76PgDMmyF0gDRMbjpEFmHJVO5jUX0X2PTrhs0/edit?usp=sharing

Oct 10, 2021
The Other Kind of Evolution | Dr. Joe Henrich

Today I sat down with Professor Joe Henrich to discuss what makes our species special—which is, by his lights, culture. Our conversation centers on how culture develops, and from this topic, we managed to hit a wide range of other subjects, including but not limited to: the validity of children as models for uncultured humans, the relevance of intelligence to human success, the potential philosophical implications of known facts about cultural evolution, neanderthals vs. humans, and the extent to which human nature is genetic.

Henrich is Professor and Chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, and he is the author of two widely-acclaimed books, The Secret of Our Success and The WEIRDest People in the World. Our conversation today focused on the first book, but you can find both on Henrich's website: https://henrich.fas.harvard.edu/

Aug 08, 2021
Slowing down for the summer...

Unfortunately, due to a variety of personal factors, I need to slow down Species to a less-than-weekly schedule, at least until October. This is heartbreaking for me, but I need to take my foot off the pedal for a moment. If you are new (or new-ish) to the show, we've got over 200 episodes waiting for you; it's all evergreen content, dive in, and don't worry about listening in any particular order. If you are a longtime fan and you just want new content from me, I've got a 10-episode series on how our species evolved waiting for you here: https://frstre.com/go/?a=95595-7e38d9&s=1771291-5cf1d5&p_affiliate.referral_code=mackenmurphy

(If you can't afford a Listenable subscription, just use the free trial to listen and then cancel. Also: I get 30% of your subscription if you subscribe through that link, and you can get 30% off online using the promo code: mackenmurphy)

Thank you so much for your support through the years, the journey is far from over.

Jul 26, 2021

Why do porcupines have antibiotics on their quills? Is urination romantic? Can porcupines throw their quills? Find out the answer to all these questions and more on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jk-CCUSRdr-pzdIRmmpnCfdMezkY5SuIPXVcvR45yFA/edit?usp=sharing


Here is the affiliate link for my new audio course, "Human Evolution," first episode is free: https://frstre.com/go/?a=95595-7e38d9&s=1771291-5cf1d5&p_affiliate.referral_code=mackenmurphy

I get 30% of your subscription if you subscribe through this link, your support is greatly appreciated! Also, you get 30% off when you sign up online and use the promo code: mackenmurphy

Jul 11, 2021
Leaf Sheep

How do plants get energy from the sun, and why are they green? Come learn about a solar-powered slug on this episode of Species. 

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JVpieyxEDEWpKLjVOtWecIeE272Dxs9i5XjluDqS8Wc/edit?usp=sharing 

Here is the affiliate link for my new audio course, "Human Evolution," first episode is free: https://frstre.com/go/?a=95595-7e38d9&s=1771291-5cf1d5&p_affiliate.referral_code=mackenmurphy

I get 30% of your subscription if you subscribe through this link, your support is greatly appreciated! Also, you get 30% off when you sign up online and use the promo code: mackenmurphy


Jun 28, 2021
Black-capped Chickadee

This bird wipes their own memory so they don't starve. Find out all about how they survive Alaskan winters and the perks of forgetfulness on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pkvxdWIV0vqfl5UddAfsgfMUEtW5enTMohsED0_5CnE/edit?usp=sharing

Here is my affiliate link for my audio course, "Human Evolution," first episode is free: https://frstre.com/go/?a=95595-7e38d9&s=1771291-5cf1d5&p_affiliate.referral_code=mackenmurphy

I get 30% of your subscription if you subscribe through this link, your support is greatly appreciated! Also, you get 30% off when you sign up online and use the promo code: mackenmurphy

Jun 20, 2021

Why do these salamanders get their own powerpoint in every biology class? What is a ring species, and what if the animals between us and chimps were still alive? Come learn about one of the most theoretically important creatures on earth on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KXT7pHVzxkAtr1JXtAwgW-WeXXqdkwCxvS8YTcvwqvU/edit?usp=sharing

Here is my affiliate link for my new audio course, "Human Evolution," first episode is free: https://frstre.com/go/?a=95595-7e38d9&s=1771291-5cf1d5&p_affiliate.referral_code=mackenmurphy

I get 30% of your subscription if you subscribe through this link, your support is greatly appreciated! Also, you get 30% off when you sign up online and use the promo code: mackenmurphy

Jun 13, 2021

Come learn about the possible reasons why the enormous Irish elk went extinct, the conflict between sexual selection and survival, and the orc of the swine world on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/103mGaTzYZfrA9SHKig9BYhrg363HEV7w1UdA4qpJ-BA/edit?usp=sharing


Jun 06, 2021
Alligator Snapping Turtle

It might be more appropriate to call them the alligator-snapping turtle. Come learn about the largest snapping turtle on earth.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14FZe2J58br8Ls7bLl2ZnFwNEb8pCxuQUewtv1ZRElWY/edit?usp=sharing


May 30, 2021
Hooded Pitohui

Poisonous birds are real. Come learn about one on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14jU3dUvrQbLQLhJC6o4-VQwjlTxcUWy6H1YhNlMr41Q/edit?usp=sharing 

If you would like to learn about human evolution, listen to Macken's new audio course here: https://frstre.com/go/?a=95595-7e38d9&s=1771291-5cf1d5&p_affiliate.referral_code=mackenmurphy 

This is my affiliate link, I get 30% of your subscription if you sign up here. If you use the promo code "mackenmurphy," you get 30% off yours!

May 23, 2021

Come learn about the heads of hammerhead sharks and find out why a fish would hold their breath underwater. 

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1exsssJqR0O0mj0xxNkNhwU1hTlwsdV2FAWGPJ1aLPtc/edit?usp=sharing  

Here is the affiliate link for my new audio course, "Human Evolution," first episode is free: https://frstre.com/go/?a=95595-7e38d9&s=1771291-5cf1d5&p_affiliate.referral_code=mackenmurphy


I get 30% of your subscription if you subscribe through this link, your support is greatly appreciated! Also, you get 30% off when you use the promo code: mackenmurphy

May 17, 2021
Human Evolution

I preview my new 10-lesson audio course, "Human Evolution," on Listenable.

Here's the link to listen, the introductory lesson is free: https://frstre.com/go/?a=95595-7e38d9&s=1771291-5cf1d5&p_affiliate.referral_code=mackenmurphy

(Full disclosure: This is my affiliate link, and if you use it, I get an additional 30% of your subscription. Thank you so much for your support. Send me a message on mackenmurphy.org/contact if you can't afford to listen, and I'll help you out.)

May 16, 2021

If a big cat is going to eat Macken, he hopes it's a jaguar. Find out why, and learn all about this terrifying animal on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14kXGxp5UahAUB5WfgcQ8UlPTNmOCdlEFrUA84XPxmS8/edit?usp=sharing

May 10, 2021
Large Blue

This butterfly is a Trojan horse and a Rube Goldberg machine wrapped into one. Come learn about oregano's roundabout way of defending itself on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lLH6Wy3Fba04ZP3g9yVrQp5puslJOPdfFV5QrvwHJzU/edit?usp=sharing

May 02, 2021

Did the washing machine liberate women? Can compost spontaneously combust? Will AI exacerbate inequality? Find out about the malleefowl and (tangentially) related topics on this episode of species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MD4pevnsRvPaTuAG_u1PrqkltukyqVi79We4z8gLX08/edit?usp=sharing


Apr 25, 2021

What's the Code of Hammurabi? If earthworms could write horror movies, what would the monster look like? Come learn about the limbless amphibian who eats their mother on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1N4CxfnqU4OobOIvPQPk7FWcLsZHqzPHOPY-rlT5c8YE/edit?usp=sharing

Apr 18, 2021
Naked Mole-Rat

This creature brings a whole lot more than nudity to the table. These rats live like ants, and can live without almost anything. Come learn about one of the strangest animals on the planet on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/196o_CurSfPqdIRmm7Q1L_9YQ6LCSLU7wxMnFiOjyDLY/edit?usp=sharing

Apr 11, 2021

Why do periodical cicadas lie dormant for 17 years? What are they doing that whole time? And how do they know it's time to come up?

My first children's book: https://neonsquidbooks.com/books/animal-sidekicks/

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_RGZZryFdAAgF17xDu2Kx-IrrPRgoix4Xx3iO-P_KwQ/edit?usp=sharing


Apr 05, 2021

Omen of death or benevolent being? Annoyance or lullaby? Come learn about the invisible bird that looks like an owl and hunts like a frog.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-B4baVczEVG-ASmV9X05bZTFeFR32vgaFAy97c7irXw/edit?usp=sharing

Mar 29, 2021

Try saying that three times fast. Come learn all about the fish with the longest name, and a bit about nomenclature in general.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rCa0QIyXMNlbGe9tJLtRxkr1f6FXfuLKH1-tccPBvmU/edit?usp=sharing


Mar 22, 2021
Flying Lemur

They aren't lemurs, they can't fly, but they're the greatest mammalian gliders on earth and they might be your cousin. 

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tYVDiQix_0cqwVwzGhDW7oS2QjyBR9V6TAJ7FCj_yiE/edit?usp=sharing


Mar 15, 2021
Bearded Dragon

Why did beards evolve (in us and these lizards)? Were the lizards in Holes real? Will bearded dragons changing sex decimate the species?

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Gi3tAGnuhqMVB4w9i-bjB804WPaluKvb3TdrD7bpVDE/edit?usp=sharing

Mar 08, 2021

This bird carries home water stashed in their chest feathers.

Come learn about the price of water on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TTS5YvQiBiKlIu_40pOf8029Frs0cIO0M_P7TmAVDRI/edit?usp=sharing

Mar 01, 2021

It is ridiculous that all the aliens we've made up have jaws. Come find out why, and learn about the fish that lack them.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1npNiNPEIkuVmjfjSbW346YaT28eoNdOUubCWkaww0gM/edit?usp=sharing

Feb 22, 2021

Why do hamsters eat their babies? What language calls them "Mr. Saddlebags," and why? Who would win, a hamster or a wasp?

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OxSxISRaNmFfB60z-3akij2nbsAPjVqqfNxXzqL2mbM/edit?usp=sharing


Feb 15, 2021
Globe Skimmer

What percentage of the population could you plausibly have a child with? Come learn about a species that may have acheived global panmixia. 

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JpZAzmg7ZCuT4I3hzm_J3Xa_qZiPM0l_M1kp94XAohc/edit?usp=sharing


Feb 08, 2021
Harpy Eagle

The biggest eagle on earth (debatably). Come learn about a monster on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Tl56m5p9t60wa9R4mhAHsLO6LkXMqb_yyTVwn2WfEJ4/edit?usp=sharing


Feb 01, 2021

Come learn about a fish that walks on land and ruins Einstein quotes on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eAk_FQb_6-PdLldZDS7Lc4q9cUmSFQ3NFDk-qqkSlmA/edit?usp=sharing

Jan 25, 2021

The slower they go, the harder they work. Learn about why kangaroos hop, why they have pouches, and why they are the weirdest grazing animals on earth on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1x7yA0OS_iHuNiXATwFOZwkvcrpkqg1ivIgIO5W_P5eY/edit?usp=sharing

Jan 17, 2021
Boxer Crab

Did humans evolve to punch each other in the face? Are we more violent than ever? This crab uses sea anemones as boxing gloves. Come learn about them.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pXgDZZrpqYz_CJm9M-hg7UZ1ibwVgbgu3s-FfmvTMsA/edit?usp=sharing

Jan 11, 2021
Rockhopper Penguin

Why did penguins lose the ability to fly? What's up with those yellow eyebrows? Does expertise come at a cost? Find out all of these things and more on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xoa9Z6KnhD-WTvWYoWfnlnUI9YAxz3mba5r7YQRusbI/edit?usp=sharing

Jan 04, 2021

How do suction cups work? Did Caligula get murdered due to remoras? Are remoras good or bad for their hosts? Find out on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1y30oSBdF0feRKLpSOVYBZ3PFlHtqSaQ9u25dqBwaPCY/edit?usp=sharing

Dec 27, 2020

Who is the most prolific serial killer of all time? How do ligers get so big? Why do tigers have stripes? Find out everything you could possibly want to know about tigers on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LUBGGbhJOwxTaDOFzYehXlOF87OTSEA74HnPwbiSlgc/edit?usp=sharing

Dec 21, 2020
Diabolical Ironclad Beetle

This insect can survive being run over by a Toyota Camry. Here's how...

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-HFHQ9iJgTHDQKs8Tl3SzVZYrs2g7KzaRnkuqaEAork/edit?usp=sharing

Dec 14, 2020

Why do women cheat? Why do cuckoos cosplay as hawks? Why did the merry men of Gotham think they could bring about an endless summer by trapping a cuckoo?

Find out the answer to all these why's and more on this episode of species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1807zyPxfAHbTXqCG6t8J7XfeD4RTUotfrTU3GUaD9h4/edit?usp=sharing

Dec 07, 2020

How do you measure success in the fight for survival? What is the most common vertebrate on earth? Which traits are most useful to an animal's abundance? Get your answers to all these questions and more on this episode of Species. 

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1f02h0cboM7oO7-4h31uhsqH07QgUPmr0uFDIpUspv1o/edit?usp=sharing

Nov 30, 2020

Why do zebras have stripes? Why don't people ride zebras? Why do zebras kill their babies? Find out on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Gvcojy4USerYBMmrEP-co3R0mEcQgSAROqhiBFxiTtA/edit?usp=sharing


Nov 23, 2020
Docility and the Death Penalty | Dr. Richard Wrangham

Dr. Richard Wrangham’s book, The Goodness Paradox, argues that we humans inadvertently domesticated ourselves using the death penalty. In this conversation, we discuss the evidence supporting this hypothesis, the radical implications that follow from it, and a whole host of other topics, including morality, religion, patriarchy, psychopathy, and drug use in chimpanzees.

Richard is Harvard University’s Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology, he is founder of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project, co-founder of the Kasiisi Project, and patron of the Great Apes Survival Partnership. He is the author of three influential books, Demonic Males, Catching Fire, and his newest book, The Goodness Paradox, which we recommend you read: https://www.amazon.com/Goodness-Paradox-Relationship-Violence-Evolution/dp/1101970197/ref=sr_1_1?crid=20C3Z9TAHH4UK&dchild=1&keywords=the+goodness+paradox+richard+wrangham&qid=1605904298&s=books&sprefix=the+goodness+pa%2Cstripbooks%2C180&sr=1-1

Nov 20, 2020
Emerald Cockroach Wasp

It's good to be afraid. Come learn about the woman who can't feel fear, the roaches who are rendered fearless and the wasp who makes it possible. Warning: This podcast is not for the faint of heart. 

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1su0d1qEn6P_JcjtyIMIZeNNXKOlUVcilBpV-SfQSx7A/edit?usp=sharing

Nov 15, 2020

Today we're going to talk about the (seemingly) mathematically impossible. Come learn about the oxpecker, their relationship with rhinos, and how we know anything on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZDY2BPC2qLq1xOaCci_wy0OCjUBeE7M_0p9wBBvTXp0/edit?usp=sharing


Nov 09, 2020

Why are clowns scary? If all clownfish are born male, how can they reproduce? How do clownfish survive living inside a sea anemone, and what does the anemone get out the deal? Come listen and learn from the Species podcast post-Halloween special.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kluzIMr4qZdQkI44n6QM7NJHhV6yxA7SjbwcDHsRFX0/edit?usp=sharing

Nov 01, 2020

Why was Thomas Jefferson embarrassed about American animals? Are there moose in New Zealand? What is the only weapon in the universe that doubles as a hearing aid?

Recording of my live lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bnpUnkwLyU

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14Em2fnOkQvkDtmo8C-ASwlqsFyXjnihamYsQMm1K_gk/edit?usp=sharing


Oct 26, 2020
Garter Snake

Come hear about an animal who is full of surprises, and learn about one of the most elaborate acts of deception in the animal kingdom.

Register for my live show: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0odOivqz8rHd1T_g-UMAlfG92NGUSFIxxD

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UoaDBj8TJlgR3tYbUJrGv3wSd4g0EgkUMQMphFPc9z4/edit?usp=sharing


Oct 18, 2020
American Kestrel

This animal has the vision of a video game character, and they glitch like one too. Come hear about the benefits of seeing urine and the hack to hover without hummingbird wings on this episode of Species.

Register for my upcoming lecture: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0odOivqz8rHd1T_g-UMAlfG92NGUSFIxxD

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1k054w73uaQd1Mre21GzoDrc9LRW-oxdXWRGC6xzj5nA/edit?usp=sharing

Oct 11, 2020
Descent Into Hogwood with Juliet Gellatley

Juliet Gellatley is the founder and director of Viva!, one of the most effective animal rights charities in the world. In this conversation, she sat down with Macken to speak about her organization’s new film, “Hogwood,” an exposé of a British pig farm that put the corruption of related institutions on full display. In this conversation, Juliet details the heroism and horrors of her experiences with Hogwood, outlines the greatest joys and worst miseries in a pig’s life, and explains the state of farming in the 21st century.

Hogwood is available on Apple TV, Amazon Prime, and Google Play. You can find Viva! here: https://www.viva.org.uk/

Oct 08, 2020
Why did humans take so long to invent swords? How do swordfish use their swords? Is a swordfish bigger than my whole family? Find out on this episode of species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zyGukCFXL-CWQKHbDOUnswGq52Hyp4Cbt4WngHQ2wZY/edit?usp=sharing

Oct 05, 2020
Swamp Rabbit
The biggest cottontail on earth acts like a fictional ninja, and tried to attack a US president. Hear all about them on this episode of Species.
Sep 28, 2020
Leafcutter Ant
You've heard of ant farms; this is the ant who farms. Come learn about the real inventors of agriculture and their remarkable similarities to ourselves.
Sep 21, 2020
Arctic Tern

Come hear about the longest migration on earth, and get your answers to these important questions: What is the world record for the longest distance walked? Why do birds migrate? Does this have anything to do with surfing? 

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ry0glRBVbZCcxufI_ZCyfBE0b8kwb23qdZzwZtslmwc/edit?usp=sharing

Sep 14, 2020
Why are material scientists fascinated by this creature's teeth? How come old maps had drawings of monsters on them, and were those beasts real? What is the purpose of life? Come learn about the worst looking animal we've ever talked about, on this episode of Species.
Sep 06, 2020
How strong are gorillas, and how do they get jacked eating salad? Can gorillas learn language? Why don't wild gorillas pass the mirror test? Are gorillas people? Come get the answer to all these questions and more on this episode of Species.
Aug 30, 2020
Cane Toad
Come discover the wisdom of Frankenstein, hear about one of the worst mistakes in the history of our species, and learn everything there is to know about the heavyweight champion of invasive animals.
Aug 24, 2020
Eleonora's Falcon

This animal is one of the cruelest predators on earth. Come learn about the cannibal bird that imprisons their prey on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mLBi5ZY8cZmu81eTy9Kg5rYBJlOlChoN_-VBuuzz-Co/edit?usp=sharing

Aug 17, 2020

Could we stop flies from spreading diseases by letting them eat cannabis? How many species of insect are there? Why do sandflies drink blood? Come find out on this episode of Species.

This episode is dedicated to the memory of Alex Levy.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/124pvi8VkW8L5y8imnM5Rspqa1_VeDu9NAXxC4qo0nY0/edit?usp=sharing

Aug 10, 2020

Today, we're talking about the wooly cow. Come listen and learn about their adaptations to the cold, the extinction of Pleistocene megafauna, and the potential conflict between Darwinian success and personal happiness. 


Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/17UgawNuB5dT20123jffn4Md8SKhieipGcz6OySaV4yM/edit?usp=sharing

Aug 03, 2020
PETA President & Founder, Ingrid Newkirk

Today I spoke with Ingrid Newkirk, one of the most influential people in the history of the animal rights movement. Ingrid has advocated for animals from the streets of New Delhi to the halls of US Congress, and her work has lead to tremendous progress on behalf of animals in laboratories, on farms, and in shelters alike.

In this conversation, we spoke about animal advocacy, controversies surrounding PETA, and Ingrid's new book, Animalkind: Remarkable Discoveries about Animals and Revolutionary New Ways to Show Them Compassion. Get your copy here: https://shop.peta.org/animalkind.html

Jul 30, 2020
Whiptail Lizard

Males are dispensable. Come learn about the costs and benefits of asexual reproduction and the all-female lizards who perform amputations on themselves on this episode of Species.


Jul 27, 2020

Why do two separate cultures believe the penguin feeds their children with a blood ritual? Can a pelican's beak hold more than their belican? How many horses can you trade for a pelican mandible? Find out all this and more on this episode of Species.


Jul 20, 2020
Wood Frog

This frog survives freezing to death. Come learn about cryonics, what cold is, terminal burrowing, and more on this episode of Species.



Jul 13, 2020
Blue Whale

How did blue whales evolve to be so big? What can whale earwax teach us about whale emotions? Do blue whales have long-distance relationships? Come learn about the largest animal of all time on this episode of Species.


Jul 06, 2020
Do you need a brain to think? Come learn about an animal that eats inside-out and sees with their arms on this bizarre episode of Species.
Jun 29, 2020
Vampire Finch

Come learn about a blood-sucking bird, solve a few mysteries, and find out more about the history of evolutionary theory on this episode of Species.


Jun 22, 2020

A gargantuan remnant of the Jurassic lives on in a Russian river... Come learn about a candidate for the largest freshwater fish of all time on this episode of Species.


Jun 15, 2020
Why do female hyenas have penises? Are hyenas cats or dogs? Do hyenas eat humans, and what should I do if hyenas are terrorizing my city? Find out all the answers to these questions and more on this episode of Species.
Jun 08, 2020
Leatherback Sea Turtle
This animal is bolder than a shark, and tougher than your boat. Come hear a crazy story, learn everything we know about the biggest turtle in the world, and discover how you can help them on this episode of Species.
Jun 01, 2020

Do roadrunner's footprints ward off evil spirits? Does this animal have solar panels? Do they really make a "beep beep" sound? How fast can they go, and how do they do it? Who would win, a roadrunner or a rattlesnake?

Get the answer to all of these questions and more on this episode of Species.


May 25, 2020

Come listen and learn about the science of inflatable fish on this episode of Species.


May 17, 2020
Why do camels have humps, and is there actually water in them? How do camels survive in the desert with that hairy coat? What's special about camel blood, and camel urine? Learn all about the dromedary on this episode of Species.
May 11, 2020
Flying Squid

Yes, this is a real thing. No, we don't mean "gliding," or "jumping," we mean flying.

Come learn about a biological rocket and the history of jet propulsion on this insane episode of Species.



May 04, 2020
Pandemics, Politics, Sex, and Sentience with Geoffrey Miller

Geoffrey Miller is among the most prominent scientists on earth. As an evolutionary psychologist, he has published over one hundred academic articles with over 14,000 citations, and he is the author of several popular books. His work has been featured everywhere from The New York Times to The Joe Rogan Experience, and he has worked as a consultant for governments, NGOs, and Fortune 500 companies alike.

In this conversation, he uses evolutionary psychology as a lens with which to view a wide variety of topics, including: COVID-19, politics, free speech, polyamory, consciousness and the self. 

Relevant links:
Apr 28, 2020
Why do toucans have big beaks? Surprisingly, not because of sexual selection! Come learn about the many uses of the toucan's beak, hear about the bird that pays rent to toucans in blood, and discover how to make lighter crash-resistant cars on this episode of Species.
Apr 27, 2020

Learn about the defensive benefits of mucus, the origins of disgust, the disturbing source of tropical beaches, and the benefits of changing sex, all on this episode of Species.



Apr 20, 2020
COVID-19 & Animal Activism with John Oberg

In this episode, Macken sits down for a livestream with social media expert John Oberg. John gives us a tutorial on activism in the era of social distancing, before discussing a wide variety of topics relating animals and COVID-19. John and Macken discuss the humanist reasons to go vegan, wet markets, factory farms, and the ban on eating dogs in China.

John Oberg is one of the most prominent characters in the modern animal rights movement. He is an animal advocate hoping to make the world a kinder place by utilizing the power of social media. He recently launched his own independent project for animals through Patreon. Prior to that, he served as Director of New Media for the international animal protection organization, The Humane League. And prior to that, John served as Director of Communications for Vegan Outreach. In both of these roles, John oversaw social media for the organizations which led to a tenfold increase in following for both, as well as over 1 billion views of content posted to these pages.

You can find John on his website, Patreon, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

Apr 16, 2020
The Arabian oryx is a legendary animal that rose from the dead and (possibly) started the myth of the unicorn. Come learn everything about them and their remarkable meteorological capabilities on this episode of Species.
Apr 13, 2020
Fruit Fly
This is one of the most important species in human history, and one of the most well-understood beings in the universe. Why do we use them in labs? Are they sentient? Will they get me sick? Come hear all about fruit flies getting drunk to deal with their personal problems on this episode of Species.
Apr 06, 2020
Canada Goose
Learn about the ruthless ways of the Canada goose, and the science behind their flight formation, on this episode of Species.
Mar 30, 2020
Komodo Dragon vs. American Alligator - Who Would Win?

Macken and Tyus debate: Who would win, a Komodo dragon or an American alligator?



Mar 28, 2020
Goblin Shark

Come learn about the goblin shark, alien neomorphs, slingshot jaws, and electroreceptors on this episode of Species.


Mar 23, 2020
In this episode, we discuss the pangolin, their incredible abilities, their bizarre anatomy, and the terrible threats to their existence. We also discuss the coronavirus pandemic. Come join us for an unusually grim episode of Species.
Mar 16, 2020
Shedao Pit Viper
Shedao Island houses 20,000 snakes inside 0.28 square miles. Learn all about this island and its remarkable inhabitants on this episode of Species.
Mar 09, 2020
Tasmanian Devil vs. Honey Badger - Who Would Win?
Macken and Tyus debate: Who would win, a honey badger or a Tasmanian devil?
Mar 06, 2020
Do ostriches really bury their head in the sand? The short answer is no, the long answer is complicated. Come listen and learn all about the biggest bird on earth on this episode of Species.
Mar 02, 2020
This salamander famously stood still for seven years, but there's much more (or, perhaps, less) worth noticing about them. Come learn about one of the strangest animals on earth on this episode of Species.
Feb 24, 2020
Raccoon Dog
Today's episode is about hibernation, Japanese culture, monogamy, video games, the fur trade, and more. Come learn about an incredibly unique animal who looks like a raccoon and lives like nothing else on earth.
Feb 17, 2020
Bobbit Worm
The bobbit worm is an enormous, terrifying, predatory animal that lives in the depths of our oceans. How do they get inside aquariums? Do they have anything to do with Lorena and John Wayne Bobbitt? Why do they live underground? How do fish fight back against their reign of terror?
Find out on this episode of Species.
Feb 09, 2020
Monk Parakeet
Why is 1/10th of Pingelap completely colorblind, and why is this parrot all over the place? Come learn about the parrot that builds apartment complexes on this episode of Species.
Feb 03, 2020
The fish with human teeth, the vegetarian piranha, the genital-eating fish, the pacu.
Jan 26, 2020
One of the most intelligent, complicated, mysterious and controversial animals on the planet. A Rorschach test and a mirror, wrapped into one...
Jan 20, 2020

This lizard can walk on water. Listen to find out the science of how they achieve this miraculous feat, and learn a bit more about miracles, all on this episode of Species.



Jan 13, 2020

This animal has been called a stink bird, a cattle bird, an avian cow, a skunk bird, and a living dinosaur. Find out what they have in common with cows, and what makes them a dinosaur, all on this episode of Species.



Jan 06, 2020

Today we talk about the pride of Puerto Rico and the bane of Hawaii, a tiny frog with an enormous sound, the coquí.



Dec 29, 2019

At first glance, the koala is one of the cutest animals on earth. But if you take a closer look, you find some surprises. Come find out about the personal lives of koalas, Australian pranks, and John Oliver, all on this episode of Species. 

Help Koalas


Dec 23, 2019
Goliath Birdeater
This is the largest spider on earth. Come learn about how spiders stick to things, find out how dangerous this animal is, and discover their strange and unique abilities on this episode of Species.
Dec 16, 2019
This underrated animal has saved countless American soldiers, they were the email of their era, and they can perform as well as doctors, art teachers, and undergraduates after basic training. Come learn about one of the most underestimated animals on earth on this episode of Species.
Dec 08, 2019
How do salmon find their way back home? Why do they go back to the same river? How many salmon survive the journey? The Chinook salmon is the largest salmon on earth, and they've got a fascinating life cycle. In this episode, we learn everything about them.
Dec 02, 2019
Can armadillos roll themselves into a ball or not? Today, we talk about the nine-banded armadillo, an animal whose population stretches from South America to the US, and might be headed for Massachusetts or even Canada. In this episode, you'll hear about their surprising athletic abilities, including their absurd vertical leap and strange river-crossing strategies. Learn about the weird possible functions of their armor, as well as its embarrassing drawbacks, all on this episode of Species.
Nov 25, 2019
Human: Soul Eubanks, Artist & Activist

Soul Eubanks is an artist and an activist in the animal rights movement. He is a leader in Atlanta’s vegan community, an environmentalist, a musician, a photographer, and he has worked with numerous animal rights organizations in various capacities.

In this conversation, we discuss his vegan journey, his organization of the Atlanta Animal Right’s March, his undercover work for PETA, how his art intersects with his activism. and his outreach work with Anonymous for the Voiceless and the Humane Society. We also hear his opinions on the state of the vegan movement, and he tells vegans what he thinks they're doing wrong, what they’re doing right.


Soul's links:

Patreon / Twitter / Instagram / WebsiteApparel 


Nov 22, 2019
Fierce Snake

This animal, the inland taipan (a.k.a. the "fierce snake") is the most venomous snake on earth. How much of their venom could kill you? How much could kill a football team? How much of it could kill all of New York? Find out about this, black t-shirts, and Theodore Roosevelt all on this episode of Species.


Macken & Ben Shapiro

Nov 18, 2019
MacGregor's Bowerbird
Is this bird an artist? They sing, they dance, they do imitations, and they build insane structures... But is it art? Come learn about the incredible abilities of MacGregor's bowerbird, find out about the science of sexual selection, and ponder the nature and origin of art, all on this episode of Species.
Nov 10, 2019

Come hear the legendary history of the goldfish, and get the answers to your most important goldfish-related questions: Do goldfish have a 3-second memory? How big is the biggest goldfish ever? How old is the oldest goldfish? Is my goldfish depressed? Learn all of this and more on this episode of Species.



Nov 04, 2019
Japanese Macaque

Humans don't have a monopoly on culture, innovation, accents, great ideas, or even using other animals as forms of transport; the Japanese macaque has all these things and more! Come learn about the history of macaque innovation on this episode of Species.



Oct 28, 2019
Human: Dr. David A. Steen, Reptile Expert & Science Communicator
Listen and learn from reptile expert Dr. David Steen! He comes on the show to bust some myths about snakes and turtles, share science communication strategies, and tell us what to do if we find venomous snakes, reveal the secrets of the Atlanta biology Illuminati.
David is the founder and executive director of The Alongside Wildlife Foundation (a 501(c)(3) charitable organization). Until recently he worked as the research ecologist of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and now he is a herpetology research leader in the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
He is renowned for his science communication, he is a popular blogger with a large following on both Facebook and Instagram. He is perhaps most famous for his unique brand of Twitter outreach (Slate Magazine calls him "The Best Biologist on Twitter") and if you have any questions you can send him a tweet during or after the show.
David just came out with his first book, Secrets of Snakes, which playfully debunks many of the most pervasive myths about snakes. It is filled with fun facts from cover to cover, and David's engaging writing is accompanied by gorgeous photographs and original drawings. It is available wherever books are sold, including on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Oct 22, 2019

There might be a 25-meter long worm living inside your body. On today's episode, you can get to know them a little better.




Read Macken's work on Tenderly

Oct 20, 2019
Loons are more than just a pretty voice, and they have an entire American town completely obsessed with them. This bird can do two out of the following three things: Fly 70 mph, dive 200 feet underwater, and walk. Find out which of these things is impossible for loons on this episode of Species.
Oct 14, 2019
Flying Frog

Today we are talking about Wallace's flying frog. You'll learn about how and why they fly, how and why Franz Reichelt didn't, and discover the bizarre way this animal reproduces, all on this episode of Species. 



Oct 07, 2019

This episode is about a bizarre animal we used to call the "African unicorn." They've got an assortment of bizarre traits, each one more surprising than the last, and all of them are going to be described on this show. Join us to learn about the utility of abstaining from defecation, discover the practical uses of black and white stripes, and hear the silent sounds of the ghost of the forest. This animal is practically a mythical creature... Today we are going to try (and fail) to demystify them.



Sep 29, 2019
Humboldt Squid

This episode starts with a squid attack, and goes downhill from there... This cannibalistic animal is big, vicious, and capable of biting through kevlar. Now, human folly is causing their populations to explode. Listen to find out if we are doomed.



Sep 23, 2019
Human: Aaron Reynolds, Creator of Effin' Birds
Today's guest is Aaron Reynolds, humorist, writer, and creator of Effin' Birds. In this wide-ranging conversation, Macken and Aaron talked about hacking into casinos through fish tanks, monetizing pettiness, the CEO of LifeLock getting his identity stolen, the comedy of relatability, and the poetry of vulgarity.
Find Effin' Birds on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and on their website.
To simultaneously disappoint and impress your house guests, preorder Aaron's book now!
Sep 16, 2019
This rare parrot is inarguably one of the most intelligent on earth. Their ability to use tools is stunning, their social complexity is startling, and their cheekiness is unrivaled. Come hear a murder mystery, and learn about Macken's second-favorite animal, on this episode of Species.
Sep 16, 2019
Manta Ray

This gentle giant can pass intelligence tests that would stump your dog and your child, and if they had the opportunity they could crush your car with their bodyweight. Come learn about one of the most unique animals on earth: the giant oceanic manta ray.


Sep 09, 2019
Sumatran Rhino
The Sumatran rhino is a mix between a unicorn, a military tank, Beavis, Butthead, Blair Witch and a humpback whale. Listen to their insane vocalizations, learn about their bizarre behaviors, and find out why they might go extinct on this episode of Species.
Sep 02, 2019
Monarch Butterfly
This surprisingly poisonous animal is incredibly mysterious. They engage in migrations that take multiple generations, they gather together and use their combined weight to topple trees, and they have lived on the International Space Station. How do they migrate? How do caterpillars turn into butterflies? Find out on this episode of Species.
Aug 26, 2019

Are seagulls real? Could a gull kill a lamb? How have gulls adapted to human expansion? Today, we talk about the King of Gulls, the scourge of Chihuahuas, the largest gull on earth, the great black-backed gull. 



Aug 19, 2019

This animal was extinct for 66 million years... Until they weren't. Come learn about an animal that came back from the dead, an animal the size of an NBA player, that hunts sharks from deepwater caves.


Aug 12, 2019
Bonus: 100

In this episode, Macken celebrates episode 100 by answering your questions! Thank you to all the donors and listeners for helping us get this far!

Aug 12, 2019
Walruses are incredible animals. Their skin is so thick, polar bears struggle to draw blood. Their suction ability is so powerful, they can strip paint off walls. Join us for an episode on the walrus, and get the answers to the following questions: What does "I am the Walrus" mean? Why do walruses have mustaches? What's with the teeth? Come learn all about the largest penis bone of all time, on this episode of Species.
Aug 05, 2019
Marine Iguana

Millions of years ago, a group of iguanas were unbelievably fortunate; and now, we have marine iguanas. Hear that story, and learn all about the popular animal that can out-do dolphins underwater, and shrink their bones when necessary.

Please nominate us for the Podcast Awards, nominations close in just a few days...


Jul 29, 2019
In this episode, we learn about a bird that basically evolved into a mammal. The sheer number of areas where they have converged with mammals is absurd. Ironically, the mammals they have almost become may be their undoing. Enjoy the show.
Jul 22, 2019
This show opens up with a horrifying attack on a kayaker, and from there it only gets worse... On this podcast, you will hear about the nightmarish hunting methods of one of the most fearsome animals in the ocean. Find out about their life history, and their surprisingly high likelihood of killing you in the safety of your own home, all on this episode of Species.
Jul 14, 2019
Golden Jackal
In this episode, Macken celebrates America's independence by discussing obscene Russian experiments, a world without water, as well as the ramifications of cattle being sacred in some parts of India. All of this, incredibly, is totally relevant to the golden jackal. Prepare for an episode full of stories, anecdotes, and information about hybridization, regurgitation, and domestication.
Jul 08, 2019
Human: Tyus Williams, Wildlife Biologist

In this episode, Macken talks to wildlife biologist Tyus D. Williams. During this long and wide-ranging conversation, they covered some of the following topics: The ethics of mosquito sterilization, conservation, pseudonaturalism, scientific contrarianism, Tyus's jaguar research, and tigers that eat bears. 

Tyus is a researcher and science communicator whose work with jaguars has been published in National Geographic. You can interact with him on his twitter, @ScienceWithTyus, and learn from his #SciQFriday. If you want to thank him for coming on the show, you can buy him a cup of coffee.

Jul 05, 2019
Horseshoe Crab
What has 10 eyes, 12 legs, a spike for a tail, a tube-shaped heart, and blue blood worth $60,000 a gallon? A horseshoe crab! This animal is ancient, they are even older than trees, and today you are going to learn all about them. On this episode, Macken takes you on a tour of the horseshoe crab's anatomy, and tells you all the weird things you never knew about the Atlantic horseshoe crab.
Jul 01, 2019
Fairy Penguin
Come listen to the weirdest conservation story of all time: The story of a primate named "Swampy Marsh," who decided to train a dog to defend blue penguins from foxes. Seriously. This show will teach you about the immense challenges inherent to being a tiny penguin, and will tell you all the fun (and not-so-fun) facts about fairy penguins. Along the way, you will learn about chimpanzee warfare and the expression of violence in humans and penguins.
Jun 24, 2019
Tuna are incredibly underestimated animals. We usually think of them as ingredients, instead of creatures. In reality, they are marvelous predators; on par with lions, sharks, and other creatures we generally respect. Today we are going to talk about an animal that is extreme in every way... Extreme speed, extreme size, and extreme price: the Atlantic bluefin tuna. Find out why the Atlantic bluefin tuna is going extinct, and what you can do to help them, all on this episode of Species.
Jun 17, 2019

Can an earthworm survive being cut in half? Do they re-grow both ends? Is it true that worms can reproduce with themselves? Was Charles Darwin obsessed with earthworms, and did he scientifically determine their favorite food? Do worms have brains? What about hearts? Why do they carry leaves back to their dens?

Find out all the answers on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hGhOUKfhp1q9F5M5y5X6pbL9ddqWlB1-bBogYw3aV1U/edit?usp=sharing


Jun 03, 2019

Can an earthworm survive being cut in half? Do they re-grow both ends? Is it true that worms can reproduce with themselves? Was Charles Darwin obsessed with earthworms, and did he scientifically determine their favorite food? Do worms have brains? What about hearts? Why do they carry leaves back to their dens?

Find out all the answers on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hGhOUKfhp1q9F5M5y5X6pbL9ddqWlB1-bBogYw3aV1U/edit?usp=sharing


Jun 03, 2019

Why are flamingos pink? Why do they stand on one leg? Do flamingos have teeth? Do flamingos know how to dance? Find out the surprising answers to all these questions and more, hear two weird conservation stories, and learn all about the American flamingo on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1A5aZn6YhKxoQfvSSsHRFpsmBMRKYf0I5gfZxT-88sIo/edit?usp=sharing

May 27, 2019
The Japanese nickname for the oarfish is "ryugu no tsukai," which translates to English as "messenger from the sea god's palace." In the traditional Japanese mythos, this animal is a warning: They are a sign that a tsunami is coming. In this episode, we explore the possibility that this seemingly absurd theory is true, and we talk all about what is perhaps the longest fish in the sea.
May 20, 2019
Human: John Oberg, Social Media Influencer & Animal Advocate

John Oberg is one of the most prominent characters in the modern animal rights movement. He is an animal advocate hoping to make the world a kinder place by utilizing the power of social media. Today, John sat down with Macken for a conversation about veganism and animal rights advocacy. Together they went through the reasons for being vegan, discussed the future of veganism, and jointly addressed some of the most common defenses of animal exploitation. John also spoke about his fascinating life story, and his journey towards animal advocacy.

You can find John on his website, Patreon, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

May 16, 2019
Honey Badger

Were honey badgers weaponized by the UK during the Iraq war? Who would win, the greatest fighter on earth, or a honey badger? What about a honey badger vs. a lion? Or a hyena? Or a cobra? How come honey badgers are so absurdly brave? Why are they such creative escape artists? Honey badgers are the toughest animals on the face of the planet, and today we talk all about them.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BoUEfR7tUcfFvlEeMabjbZ1F4meRuA7197t6Xv7-Hp4/edit?usp=sharing

May 13, 2019
Komodo Dragon

This is the animal who inspired King Kong, and maybe some dragon stories. Find out about their magical healing abilities, their insane sense of smell, and their truly disturbing method of killing their prey. Discover the answer to the following questions: Why do almost all cultures have dragons? Do Komodo dragons kill by sepsis or venom? Are baby Komodo dragons just reptilian squirrels?

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10Z5Gnu_HJURoW5VYyTTcfcgmeXfNfXGq39BDgUoXl6s/edit?usp=sharing

May 05, 2019
Human: Ashley Gary, The Wildlife Host
Ashley Gary is a science communicator and a wildlife educator. This afternoon, she had a wide-ranging, hilarious conversation with Macken in which they discussed the following topics:
The ethics of retweeting. 
Social media and wildlife education. 
What schools might do to improve entertainment value in class. 
Indiana Jones & lizards. 
Instagram aesthetics. 
Wildlife television. 
Gorillas vs. grizzly bears. 
Enormous ducks vs. tiny horses. 
The above list is only a sample of what they discussed. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a fun conversation about (mostly) animals. While you listen, take a moment to follow Ashley on social media, and visit her website!
Apr 28, 2019
Barn Owl
This animal is a sensory genius. They are masters at detecting everything while staying undetected. On this episode, Macken goes deep into the incredible science of how this animal can hear everything, without ever being heard; how this animal can see everything, without being seen. They are debatably the best listeners in the animal kingdom, and their entire face is like a radar dish. Find out all about them on this episode of species.
Apr 28, 2019

Today we are going to talk about the ugliest animal on earth (at least, by popular vote). Join us, and discover why they look so awful on land and so normal at sea. Find out the fun facts we have about this animal, and learn about the nature of ugliness itself, on this episode of Species.

Apr 22, 2019
Jumping Spider
This animal forces us to ponder the nature of intelligence itself. They are running incredibly complex software on unbelievably small hardware: Their brain could fit on the head of a pin, and yet their sensory processing and strategizing abilities rival those of the smartest animals on earth.
Look closely at the photo above, and you will count eight eyes. This spider-hunting spider can see in all directions at once, stalk and deceive their prey, seduce them with false siren calls and manipulate them like a puppet master. Like a brilliant martial artist, this animal out-maneuvers and out-thinks their victims, risking their own life in the process.
Join us, today, and glimpse the unsettling depths of the spider's mind.
Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11KiGGAiD1wiW4BiMZblFHqskHfQKyLfyBJJZk-hWL3w/edit
Apr 07, 2019
This creature has the greatest deceptive abilities in the animal kingdom, unless you count humans. The fork-tailed drongo's ability to lie and manipulate other species into doing what they want is nothing short of stunning, and their intelligence is absolutely unbelievable. Today, we learn about why humans lie, why it is usually wrong, and why Darwin might disagree. We address questions, such as:
Do drongos possess a theory of mind? 
Should I skip school and pretend to be sick? 
Why do meerkats keep falling for the drongo's trickery?
Could drongos be doing this on autopilot? 
Do 8-year-olds lie more often than 3-year-olds? 
Are "white lies" a myth? 
Learn about all the magnificent trickery of the drongo, and the nature of human dishonesty, on this episode of Species. 
Mar 31, 2019
Whale Shark
Whale sharks are the biggest fish, in the biggest pond on earth. This animal can get to be nearly 50,000 pounds and over 40 feet long. That is the length of a school bus, and double the weight! On this episode, Macken tells you all the fun facts about whale sharks, and gives you the best available answers to some of the following questions, like: 
Why the heck are whale sharks so dang big?
Has a whale shark ever killed a human?
Could a human fit in a whale sharks mouth?
Why do whale sharks have hundreds of sharp teeth?
Do whale sharks have any natural predators?
Why do whale sharks have spots?
Do whale sharks speak to one another?
Can whale sharks detect magnetic fields?
Why do whale sharks have the largest inner ears in nature?
Are whale sharks smart? Can they be tamed?
Why are herbivores often bigger than carnivores?
These are all extremely important questions, at it is vital that you get your answers to them. Have fun while you do so by listening to the show, and get a bad joke about tigers along the way.
Mar 24, 2019
Human: Kirsten "The Hellbender" Hecht, Salamander Expert

Salamander expert Kirsten Hecht—also known as Kirsten “Hechtbender,” for reasons that will become clear—gave Macken a call tonight to talk about salamanders and other topics. The conversation was light & fun, we heard a few stories, learned a bit of history, and found out a lot about animals.

Macken had several questions for her tonight, including: Why are they called hellbenders? Can all salamanders regenerate limbs? How do salamanders regenerate limbs? Why do amphibians go through a tadpole stage? Why don’t mudpuppies and axolotls grow up? How do you balance being a mom with being a scientist?

Macken and Kirsten ended up covering some tangential topics, from the history of dragons in China to the joys of Halloween. Everyone can find something to enjoy!  

Mar 22, 2019
Wolf / Dog
Learn all about an animal that is simultaneously man's best friend, and man's worst enemy. Discover how a massive, muscular carnivore was changed into a baguette-loving basset hound like mine, and find out everything you want to know about dogs and wolves. Learn the answers to all your wolf & dog questions, including: Why do wolves howl? Are wolves howling at the moon? Do wolves eat people? Why did we domesticate wolves, and how did we do it? How amazing is a dogs' sense of smell? Do wolves hunt in packs? Who runs the wolf pack, the alpha male or the alpha female? Does my dog love me the same way I love them? How many words can a dog recognize? What is the moral of the story "Little Red Riding Hood"? Can wolves and dogs interbreed? What is the difference between a breed and a species?
This episode starts with a discussion about how humans struggle with gray-areas, and touches on quantum physics, before diving into a conversation about why gray wolves—domestic and otherwise—are one such gray area. We find out the answers to all the questions above (insofar as the questions are answerable) and we learn all the fun facts about wolves and dogs that could possibly fit in a single episode of Species.
Some of the facts you hear today will be completely unbelievable, but we have the sources right here! Curious and skeptical minds, click the link to the bibliography for more information and factual verification.
And if you want to find out why your dog has floppy ears, click here.
Mar 17, 2019
Blue-Ringed Octopus

This animal may look pretty, but they can do some pretty ugly things to your nervous system. Discover the science of how octopuses change color, find out why "octopi" is grammatically incorrect, and learn about the scandalous mating techniques of this strange and dangerous animal all on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YhqDS42XkO-KniTav6H3hpbeRK-q0lcNdwwCEaRTHGc/edit?usp=sharing

Mar 10, 2019
Blue Jay

Is color itself an illusion? Can blue jays speak English and imitate dogs? How can I get on Ellen? Do blue jays kill hawks? Do they use tools? Why do they mimic hawks? Are they bullies? What is so mysterious about them?

This episode will more or less answer all those questions, and together we will learn all about blue jays on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WJBq56qTc0b1FPjJasToUn1ehuYfQrxZmU8t5pMVOuw/edit?usp=sharing

Mar 03, 2019

Was the movie "Alien" plagiarized? How does an anglerfish make their lure glow? Why do fish fall for such a simple trick? What does it feel like to be a male anglerfish?

The anglerfish might be the creepiest animal in the ocean. Find out what we know about them through the lens of the humpback anglerfish, on this episode of Species.


Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lLpuGJI2tzvC6qXO38Ln77TA_ALlLbPEuLpnxXiEPRM/edit?usp=sharing


Feb 24, 2019

This animal is nicknamed the "happiest animal on earth," but what do they have to be happy about? Not much, beyond hanging out with Roger Federer. Find out the meaning of "Rottnest" and learn about the child-sacrificing, lightning-fearing, gorgonzola-choking quokka on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gI4fknlR16jnIiVTwIQB7BrUW1I_oo5lK_QtBm2WN6M/edit?usp=sharing


Feb 17, 2019
Bonus: The Biological Benefits of Monogamy

Monogamy seems completely impractical from an evolutionary perspective. If the "goal" of the survival of the fittest is to pass on your genes, how can limiting yourself to just ONE mate make any sense at all? Wouldn't playing the field be the best way to succeed? In most cases, yep. But in some select species, monogamy is the best strategy. Today we are going to talk about why monogamy evolves, and the biological benefits of monogamy under specific circumstances. Happy Valentine's Day!

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yNPIT2FVh9dklZiAzcUnRhUOtWm4P_BwSvprEz6oFIw/edit?usp=sharing

Feb 14, 2019
Human: Corbin Maxey, Animal Expert & TV Personality

Corbin Maxey is a nationally recognized animal expert and TV personality who has been featured on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Martha Stewart Show,” “Late Night with Seth Myers,” “The Today Show,” and now… Species!


Hear Corbin talk about becoming famous, saving alligators from teenager’s bedrooms, and almost getting killed by hippos while trying to use the bathroom in Africa, all on this special episode of Species.


Find Corbin Maxey all over the internet using the links below:

Website: www.corbinmaxey.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/corbinmaxey/

Podcast: https://corbinmaxey.com/podcast-1/ or, search “Animals to the Max” on your favorite podcast app!

Feb 12, 2019
Asian Giant Hornet

This hornet has a stinger as long as a thumbtack, and their venom dissolves flesh and kills dozens upon dozens of humans every year. As if that wasn't enough, they fly in swarms faster than you can run, and they are the largest hornets in the world. Beware.

They organize into war bands and decimate other species, and their behavior is unbelievably complex. Buckle up!

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TTMgZezhfjDcM9I4Hl4RDL_yVs90HGe_eRd6ZoeqWGg/edit?usp=sharing

Feb 10, 2019
Harris's Hawk

This highly intelligent bird employs unbelievably complex strategies to hunt in packs, and take down evasive prey. Their social structure is extremely complex and their romantic lives will shock you. Here about the story of Rufus the security hawk's kidnapping from Wimbledon, and learn about an amazing animal on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jqsTGgzP_e-2XBy7QkzcsFJN2JSt6IgP0wZXPG591Oo/edit?usp=sharing

Support Species: SpeciesPodcast.com/Donate

Feb 03, 2019
Dusky Gopher Frog

This tiny frog nearly cost timber farmers $30 million and then became the center of a Supreme Court case.

Is the Supreme Court too powerful? Why does this frog cover their eyes when they're scared? What is a species, and what does "critical habitat" mean?

Find out all on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10mBi8uYMlwbJ1rjD30sf5xM1pZWmaQ2xK1c6YIXMbbM/edit?usp=sharing

Jan 27, 2019
Bonus: Are animals... people?

While it may seem weird to call a nonhuman animal a "person," Argentina has done just that - in their country, chimpanzees and orangutans enjoy the benefits of legal personhood.

In America we like to think of "human" and "person" as equivalent terms, but that is demonstrably not the case; at least not legally.

So... Should other animals be considered people?

Vote: https://twitter.com/SpeciesPodcast/status/1088911107224416257

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PtGd9rO9G943JDw2e01PlEHlLek0fj6JakkTuYwo9Ao/edit?usp=sharing


Jan 25, 2019

How did we domesticate horses? Is there such thing as a wild horse? Who would win in a marathon, a horse or a human? How can I become a better inventor than Elon Musk?

Find out some insanely fun facts about horses and get the answers to all these questions on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/16ksNcJ5CbL4pCuGppq7gC8HYRRVU29Q28hr03l3G-QM/edit?usp=sharing


Jan 20, 2019
Side-Blotched Lizard

"Rock-paper-scissors" is an old game, and these lizards have been playing it for way longer than us. Just a different version, with higher stakes. This is a game about life and death.

Learn about why lefties are better at fighting, frequency-dependent selection, and quality vs. quantity all on this episode of species.


Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EkGLivXgxNnT9RTc3XICcsHHRUCxMwc-eOvDiSDJYSc/edit?usp=sharing


Jan 13, 2019

Ravens are so smart it's stupid. They use trickery, tools, communication, cooperation and betrayal to get ahead in the world. Come listen to some insane raven anecdotes, and get the answers to these questions: Why are there ravens in the Tower of London? Why do ravens fly towards gunfire? What do ravens, ants, humans and bees all have in common?


Find out about the common raven, Corvus corax, on this episode of Species. 


Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zoOfHpZ8skzSMZ6U9DlYPEHhKKr9mmb4iK9yTDaUs18/edit?usp=sharing


Jan 06, 2019
Electric Eel
The most powerful and dangerous electric fish in the entire world. Yes, they're real. Yes, they could kill you. Yes, they are insanely big. How do they generate electricity with their bodies? Can they use their electric fields to navigate? Have they invented an electric language? How come they don't shock themselves when they shock you?
Find out all on this episode of Species.
Dec 31, 2018

The vaquita is a tiny, adorable, panda-like porpoise, and they need your help. Listen to this episode fast, because sadly, it could expire any day. Species does not cover extinct animals, and this animal is on the brink. Find out all about the $20,000 bladder, the Chinese black market, and a guy who is not related to Chuck Norris on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11DkxAo-HitnUmWuoix3Dli5z3JUNkekfWWsSUmPonIw/edit?usp=sharing

Dec 24, 2018
Tree Lobster

This isn't actually a lobster, and they don't live in trees anymore. This is the rarest insect on earth. The Lord Howe Island stick insect. Dryococelus australis.

Considered extinct for decades and hidden for almost a century, this creature is unique, and they have an amazing story. Come listen and learn all about them!

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rQ-E6um6w6N9dh_OUScPt_VKhwMT_5ZEUDDff9KkCs8/edit?usp=sharing

Support Species: speciespodcast.com/donate

Dec 16, 2018
Bonus: Right under our noses...

Humans are the only animals on earth that have chins. Seriously.

Look at your dog. Do they have a chin? Nope. Cat? No. Lions, tigers bears? Oh my! No, they do not have chins!

Why did chins evolve in humans, when they literally haven't evolved anywhere else?

Today we turn to the JD Pampush and DJ Daegling to explore the possible answers.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Mn1Ya8gwk52JPBTFIh8-pfpXa1BLwzp5kgnYpJkGeLs/edit?usp=sharing

Donate: www.speciespodcast.com/donate

Dec 11, 2018

This animal is the baddest bird on the face of the planet: They decapitate crocodiles and deliberately defecate on their own legs. Why? Listen to find out. This bird is bad to the bone from the moment their born.

Come learn all about the creature, and finally discover whether or not birds are dinosaurs on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EbSO3bks7w2jy1vIDPDapLqmZVZlmBIFT7HtZR3Ody8/edit?usp=sharing


Support the Show: https://www.speciespodcast.com/donate

Dec 09, 2018
Epaulette Shark

WARNING: This shark can walk on land. Nobody is safe. If you are easily upset by the concept of sharks, specifically those that can walk on land, this podcast may not be the one for you.

Everybody else, come have some family-friendly fun and listen to the science of how a fish can survive up here with the rest of us! Also, learn about the first life to walk on earth, and hear the science behind gills and adaptive radiation on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RGIbcHabAAdUJGWzUX0HFvkTM3n-VhBV-UyzLKkVF3k/edit?usp=sharing

Support Species: https://www.speciespodcast.com/donate

Dec 02, 2018

What has two tongues, spikes on their vertebrae, a "toilet claw," a tooth comb, and no index finger?

The Potto. Perodicticus potto.

Come learn all about an amazing animal, hear a heartbreaking story, and get an explanation for their strange body on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QafZ6UU_G8l_m8WnPBqzJ0TQrCtswffUkAlKnWMfe1I/edit?usp=sharing


Nov 25, 2018
Peacock Mantis Shrimp

They throw punches fast enough to vaporize water, and create deadly underwater implosions. Their eyes are the most advanced on earth: They can see more colors than we can imagine, and their eyes may be powerful enough to see cancer. This creature is one of the most amazing on earth, and you can learn all about them on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1j9k_VB0dJ8B6X5kL3JsK0MhqvOpwUJDiG6DSsDgKSuk/edit?usp=sharing


Nov 19, 2018
European Starling

This bird causes 1.6 billion dollars in damage to the US economy every year, and it's Shakespeare's fault. Well, kind of.

Listen and learn about the bird who has speaking abilities on par with parrots, who helped Mozart write his songs. Find out about a surprisingly amazing animal, and try to wrap your head around murmurations, on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FN8VHiGp7TPCIa2DfFBEYiLtAeDkW8wXaHarOnPloPk/edit?usp=sharing


Nov 11, 2018
Bonus: Why do domesticated animals have floppy ears?

Dogs, sheep, goats, rabbits, cows, pigs, all of these animals (and more) have floppy ears in captivity. Many of them have blotchy spots, and shorter snouts too! Why are these traits common to domesticated mammals? How can it possibly be a coincidence, when these traits are rare in the wild and don't exist in the wild counterparts of these species?

And what happens if we domesticate a new animal? Will they get these traits too?

Get the real answers on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HtflGMeobqYyy23kE4qA_IZ9qB-otnYPk8gRm2rIFFA/edit?usp=sharing

Nov 10, 2018
Amami Hoshizora Pufferfish

Torquigener albomaculosus. This amazing species makes incredible underwater art, out of sand! It was a mystery for a long time, nobody knew who was making these weird pop-up underwater crop-circle things, and then we finally discovered that a tiny pufferfish is behind them. But this has lead to more mysteries: How to they do it? And why? Dive into the waters off the coast of Japan on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CSF8j9v_ETlAgpG6xcpj1A0zv1SEdqbkWAaSEcU4j9Q/edit?usp=sharing


Nov 05, 2018
Vampire Bat

Are vampire bats nicer than people? Do they really suck blood? Which came first, the vampire or the bat? Will their saliva save you from a heart attack?

Learn an absurd amount of facts about vampire bats so you have a conversation piece on Halloween.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NsVN6No5JXPPskovVe51EYut8Q8cmfxuWqrM8Sh0kK0/edit?usp=sharing

Oct 29, 2018
Pyramid Ant

Dorymyrmex bicolor. This species of ant picks up rocks, and drops them on their enemies. Is it war? Define war. Is it tool use? Yes... And what does that say about tool use? What can ants teach us about ourselves?

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1q2kwz6bnI7FqNP1b16qEG1ul_ocKEkrMg8nKm9uqlYI/edit?usp=sharing

Oct 21, 2018
Bearded Vulture

This vulture eats bones. Seriously. 85% bone diet. They also dye themselves red. Oh, and they maybe killed a Greek playwright by throwing a turtle at him. Not joking.

Listen and find out everything about the legendary bearded vulture on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oT_724nN-ElBZaqhDniHtAt0tWmcB6CBNGN5JMnpNIU/edit?usp=sharing

Oct 14, 2018

Neither mud nor puppy, this strange salamander is just a big baby. Like you. Seriously, you look like an infant. Listen to find out why! Also, find out all about paedomorphism and neoteny. Enjoy learning about the fascinating life and life cycle of the common mudpuppy on this episode of species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_eOJ7Kw9TncrmZc3DKI3Hd5HCXRbJLTLO_O8xAe2ZNg/edit?usp=sharing

See photos of the mudpuppy, a video of a mudpuppy eating a goldfish, and see a comparison photo between us and chimps, go to speciespodcast.com/animals/mudpuppy.

Oct 07, 2018
Sea Otter

Learn about the animal Arnold Schwarzenegger wants you to protect! The furriest creature on the face of the planet, one of the cutest, and possibly one of the most brutal, the sea otter.

Find out all the fun facts and not-so-fun history of this furry friend on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1i0kze7gmk59KfcZv-VnLBqVxKdb6bBxIb6y8V6OaUUY/edit?usp=sharing

Sep 30, 2018
Chinese Mantis

This praying mantis hunts hummingbirds. Seriously. Find out why female mantises eat male mantises, discover the world of praying mantis kung fu, and ruin your day by learning all about the horrifying lifestyle of the Chinese mantis on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YuSSR9_AmL7wyLBvx0ZhuufN-3W5YLMcNAT4vlstDyk/edit?usp=sharing


Sep 23, 2018
Mourning Dove

Do mourning doves mate for life? Why are they so common? What do hunters and wildlife rehabbers have in common? Who's Dora, who's Zenaide, and what does Napoleon Bonaparte have to do with any of this? 

Find out all the facts you want about mourning doves on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lRY5Q2eUdrAriuKnC38f7RAwDOxTlnrWDoIgMSA_yTA/edit?usp=sharing


Sep 16, 2018
Poison Dart Frog

How many people can 1 gram of poison from a golden poison frog kill? Are they really used in darts, or is that just a myth? Is a poison dart frog a safer pet than my dog?

Find out on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1o8AomHtyj10DhrKnjHedFdGUz8xSzKxOPeMahbstcug/edit?usp=sharing

Sep 09, 2018
Snow Leopard

Why don't Nepali shepherds roast meat? How do snow leopards survive in the cold? Can a snow leopard jump the length of a bowling alley?

Find out on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AmX34BXN9He1QntORh8GVMMuFWFwlp9w7aNY8b451og/edit?usp=sharing

Sep 02, 2018

Why don't snakes have legs? What is the difference between a snake and a legless lizard? Is Indiana Jones a fraud?

Find out on this strange, slithering Species special that is not about snakes.

Aug 26, 2018
Goliath Cockatoo

Did we invent music, or discover it? Or were we born with it? Why would natural selection choose music? Did the Backstreet Boys accidentally spark a monumental scientific discovery? Why does this bird drum? 

Find out all about a musical bird on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mYfv3YJ210S3JT0wmBkUpN1cE_ARBI_WF0XvE2f1jgw/edit?usp=sharing

Aug 19, 2018
False Cleanerfish

What do Brutus, Judas, and the false cleanerfish have in common? Why do they have massive fangs? Are plankton plants or animals or what? What is a client fish? 

Listen to some hilarious George Bush quotes, and find out the answers to the above questions on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1y_4RztDmUyc7Z26FacKjqp8qLYkYED57gfzA4Up7CzQ/edit?usp=sharing

Aug 12, 2018

Why do some people call this animal the demon primate? And why does everyone call them the aye-aye? Does this creature have magical powers? What's with their bizarre middle finger? Is this creature the real-world grim reaper?

Listen and learn!

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PIw_Wd_mREDfvdWkK6piyrDc2_VLTFyBI_IwhF-oiU8/edit?usp=sharing


Aug 05, 2018
Saltwater Crocodile

What's it like to get eaten alive? Hear the harrowing personal story of a real crocodile attack, and learn all about the largest reptile on earth on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14von7IbuRioG_iiq-6kdq-JhAVMZRr_KMYo1vRybCuY/edit?usp=sharing

Nominate Species for the Podcast Awards under "education," this is your last chance! https://www.podcastawards.com/app/signup


Jul 30, 2018
Bee Hummingbird

How do hummingbirds fly, and is bee flight physically impossible? Can they fly upside-down? Why do pollinators matter? What about communism?

Find out all about the smallest bird in the world on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1p8ypytZ2tIyIKYzHNK8h2UVKZZyrtZtCLTv9bVu9g20/edit?usp=sharing


Jul 22, 2018
Pebble Toad

This animal performs one of the most amazing displays of trickery in nature. Learn about a rock n' roll toad and get hit with an avalanche of bad comedy on this fun episode of Species.

Nominate Species in the "Education" category for a podcast award! Please! https://www.podcastawards.com/app/signup

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SOhhkc8Kp9zX7Bv7kmSE79Wq0PaKtzsXgZ9hkvx95Ig/edit?usp=sharing


Jul 15, 2018

Did giraffes patrol Rome on leashes? Who was right, Lamarck or Darwin? Why do giraffes have long necks, if not to reach high places? Do giraffes mourn the dead?

Find out on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QOzwo1SsGY4vNt2yMKQMYbdXwSxLZf2LOVOpVbwGJac/edit?usp=sharing

Nominate Species for a Podcast Award: https://www.podcastawards.com/app/signup

Save giraffes: https://giraffeconservation.org/donate/


Jul 08, 2018
Immortal Jellyfish

How does a jellyfish live forever? Why do we die? Why did death evolve? What do jellyfish, plastics, gunpowder, and penicillin all have in common? What would happen if we were able to become immortal? Is eternity on the horizon?

Find out the answers and potential answers to the above questions by joining us for an episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lcEZmff2p7Nwfc2v9ggUlcBoWannC6M5DQ2Y--9W2Ic/edit?usp=sharing

Jul 01, 2018

Come learn about the amazing skills and scandalous romances of the osprey.

Today we talk about Shakespeare, WW2, bad arcade games, and environmentalism. All through the lens of an awesome animal! None of it is off-topic. Seriously. Ospreys are relevant to all of those things.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gGHGo0WC3CHZVz1747tjx5yTXvzO2DGmAz2VXoo4GTs/edit?usp=sharing


Jun 24, 2018
Lined Seahorse

If you love your dad, share this show with him!

Enter the wonderful world of males getting pregnant, and enjoy the strange science of an animal who shares traits with horses, chameleons, kangaroos, and us.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AIOq1NX97l63rW1EVL77pLPXKhnq8iwddxcADWGO23s/edit?usp=sharing


Jun 17, 2018

Today's episode is all about the incredible unicorn of the sea, and the mystery surrounding their famous tusk.

This show covers a wide range of related topics, including Leonardo da Vinci's interest in trapping unicorns and the etymology of the word "narwhal." This episode covers all the bizarre explanations for how the narwhal's terrible tooth evolved, listen and tell us what you think!

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1j5EV672tgsvGDxU21c43zTMtY-rQ8hfAastD5O2aF1w/edit?usp=sharing

Jun 10, 2018
Namaqua Chameleon

How do chameleons change color? How do chameleons grab prey with their tongue? Why do black shirts get hot in the sun? Was the movie "Mad Max" a heavy metal music video, or an act of war against Mother Earth?

Find out on this short but spectacular episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11PPRq1kXFEFeyAKBLKyfabpGEpLbObFeQSXLtqEcZMo/edit?usp=sharing

Jun 03, 2018
Philippine Eagle

"The Monkey-Eating Eagle."

Back in the day, massive eagles would hunt our ancestors. Today, this eagle eats monkeys. Learn a bit about the our history of getting preyed upon by birds, and learn a whole lot about a modern day marvel: Arguably the largest eagle on earth, certainly one of the rarest and most beautiful, the Philippine eagle.


Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15BjJcrwIVFTZ4rR-iFFgXimADrLCGao_Ak2YsCsTUJ4/edit?usp=sharing

Philippine Eagle Foundation: http://www.philippineeaglefoundation.org/donate


May 27, 2018

Today we are going to talk about an animal who defies the stereotypes: A smart fish!

Are jocks smarter than nerds? Does my goldfish recognize me? Why do archerfish spit at scientists?

Today we are going to talk about the amazing sevenspot archerfish. Come listen!

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1f8CIqlqUhR0ZE7ZKjhEWw75_B_o4iozCNax-H2ljL3g/edit?usp=sharing

May 20, 2018
Bonus: Parachuting beavers, smart sparrows, and Pikachu.

In this episode Macken tells a true story about beavers parachuting into Idaho, then he tells another about house sparrows opening doors. To wrap things up, he reveals the origin of Pikachu's name.

It's a short, busy, entertaining show that packs in a whole bunch of fun. Come join us for a surprising treat on this bonus episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZqR-2jGqjGBhBAxUIEcYJadIXesurePLKfY6I0otvqM/edit?usp=sharing

May 18, 2018
Pygmy Marmoset

This episode opens with a crime in Australia, and then takes us to South America to learn about the amazing pygmy marmoset. We answer some cool questions today: 

What is the difference between a monkey and a primate? What defines a species? Do pygmy marmosets always have twins? What is a fingerling? Do pygmy marmosets fart when you touch their heads, and do they lick pee?

This episode also ends in Australia: Macken finally gets around to reading the Australian 5-star reviews.



May 13, 2018
Mary River Turtle

Can these turtles breathe through their butts? Do they shop at Hot Topic? How did people sell these turtles as pets before they were even discovered as a species? Why do these turtles wear mohawks? Is the New York Times fake news?

Come find out about some punk-rock turtles on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qi1Nehny-XSRpj_y0hhLVaLs6gXVh8mAtyB10Lc7Kg4/edit?usp=sharing

Help save this wonderful animal: http://maryriverturtle.tiarolandcare.org.au

May 06, 2018
House Sparrow

You see this animal every day, but do you know anything about them?

Today we will learn the different house sparrow calls and their meanings, reveal some wild places people have found this bird, and explain the history of their expansion from Israel to world domination.

Impress your friends by translating house sparrow chirps and chatters into English! Join us, come listen!

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lWH_oF8e_smvG8JCko1oWMgBBhGpgLU_jXgvRcF6VYw/edit?usp=sharing


Apr 29, 2018
Bull Shark

Did President Woodrow Wilson declare war on sharks? How did an Australian golf course accidentally end up with a lake full of bull sharks? How do these animals survive in both freshwater and saltwater? What are my odds of getting attacked by a bull shark?

Come enjoy a couple of crazy stories, and learn all about this incredible animal on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jI4syGbFaYQ4CIX7IROaAAaP4gvwq6iMd0WBr45Hz-E/edit?usp=sharing

Apr 22, 2018
American Pika

Why do we find some animals so adorable? What is the science behind cuteness? Do pikas have accents? If the American pika dies at room temperature, how the heck are they adapting to global warming?

Come learn all about the animal who is somehow simultaneously asocial and cooperative, the adorable American pika.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lXOq75u7BzmTd_NeQq2jK12QT0muYkCN_nkgX7PP9mY/edit?usp=sharing

Apr 15, 2018
African Rock Python

The largest snake in Africa, a terrifying predator, an animal who swallows humans whole... The African rock python.

Does this animal have heat vision? Who would win in a fight, an African rock python or a hyena? What about a crocodile? How about a lion?

Find out on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VaYjbaX-qe7rADpu-cB2VkYwvoZkbufnWZ2fZFl8smI/edit?usp=sharing

Apr 08, 2018

The only flightless parrot, one of the only nocturnal parrots, the heaviest parrot we know and perhaps the longest-living bird on earth... the kakapo!

Come learn all about this wonderful animal, and get all your questions answered: What is a lek? Why does each kakapo have a "boom-sac"? Who is Sirocco? 

Find out on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1F4Gf3cvnOvFkzFaz3WhwdCNOYOVFMscUO99SHR6WVNE/edit?usp=sharing

Save the kakapo: http://kakaporecovery.org.nz

Apr 01, 2018
Japanese Giant Salamander

Who would win, a samurai, or a giant salamander? Is it true that they breathe through their skin? Can the Japanese giant salamander survive getting cut in half? Do they make good dads?

Come learn everything about this massive creature on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Az3Ys_jZfCdobqKGuU5pU_4chiiw0Ufg_j4B5Oc_2a4/edit?usp=sharing

Mar 25, 2018
Tasmanian Devil

Why are they called devils? Do they have the strongest bite on earth? Can they eat people? Will the Tasmanian devil save humanity?

Find out on this episode of Species. 

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/111ZryMeUPFqKUF9rSnq_fvUCE35e_bb7wPzdLkPRPsQ/edit?usp=sharing

Mar 18, 2018
Bonus: Did St. Patrick banish the snakes from Ireland?

Snakes live almost everywhere, so why aren't there any snakes in Ireland? Legend has it that St. Patrick got rid of them!

Celebrate this St. Patrick's day with knowledge. Did this primate banish the snakes from Ireland? Find out on this bonus episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1O8j3AgdyNs15uxqyfXRiYjV0tsF5TsSDqNq7HSewUHQ/edit?usp=sharing


Mar 17, 2018
Dung Beetle

Why do dung beetles build dung balls? Do dung beetles dance? How do polarized sunglasses work? Why did entomologists dress up dung beetles in cardboard hats and tiny mittens?

Learn all about the sacred scarab on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HpYHB54kDJ5yMm-ckecuX8Ei9BMQUSxnSPKfBYjvFc8/edit?usp=sharing

Mar 11, 2018
Great Blue Heron

Who would win, a great blue heron or a golden eagle? Have chimpanzees invented spears? Are great blue herons mute?

Learn the answers to all these questions and more! Learn everything about this fantastic bird on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/17pbZ7hDSDIYLvgGNZFwK_b7avXCgaK0JxfvHmKdzd80/edit?usp=sharing

Mar 04, 2018

Why do sunfish sunbathe? Will a sunfish squash my child? Can I use a dead sunfish to pay my taxes? Is that a baby whale?

Come learn about the egg-laying champion on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Z5YnjyOkKs_kpttWcgSJkHKWKvNW56E9GSZFIxdzoRo/edit?usp=sharing

Addendum: Some Japanese biologists believe that a new species of Mola should be acknowledged, named Mola alexandrini (bump-head sunfish). They have noticeable genetic and phenotypic differences from other Mola mola, with whom they are usually grouped. If Mola alexandrini is indeed a different species to Mola mola, then the bump-head sunfish (not the ocean sunfish) holds the title of largest sunfish specimen ever found.

Feb 25, 2018

Did silk hats save beavers from extinction? Which is longer, the Hoover Dam, or the biggest beaver dam ever? Are humans naturally monogamous?

Learn all about the North American beaver on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uufPXkcVlmViyoOMwEQYXw5swayShvOeRh-b_TLL01E/edit?usp=sharing

Feb 18, 2018
Flying Snake

How do snakes slither? How do they climb trees? Heck, how do they "fly"?!

Become an expert on the paradise flying snake, and learn all about the physics of snake movement (on the ground, up trees, and through the air!) on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1knCP0V9El3I3CZuY1XmTuJgGAbbYtE9BOBtvpScvats/edit?usp=sharing

Feb 11, 2018

Why do we call them "cowbirds," and why are they nicknamed "mafia birds"? Does the mafia still exist? Are cowbirds running an extortion racket in my backyard?

Macken answers all on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YkTHau7VoFc5JrdXYl-kYuIwA1XlRATPBxL1djKyEKE/edit?usp=sharing

Feb 04, 2018
Amazon Molly

The Amazon molly is an entirely female species of fish. So how do they reproduce? Why haven't they gone extinct, like biologists once predicted? Is the Greek legend of the Amazons real?

Macken answers all on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10sffWxg1rSj8i2XygMUYUrwxEhtfFffJl6_pjEbYCDU/edit?usp=sharing

Jan 28, 2018
Giant Panda

How come giant pandas don't eat meat like other bears? Why are they black and white? Do pandas have 6 fingers?

Macken answers all and more on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s23JwBXg2Zti-YoRTuCwhgjAAGjwSH6YgfHTCN8Ka74/edit?usp=sharing

Jan 21, 2018
Coconut Crab

Can coconut crabs swim? Is my cat safe from coconut crabs? What happened to Amelia Earhart? 

Macken answers all and more on this episode of Species. He also spoils the ending of "King Kong," so watch out for that.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BrFIVGxUPKJ-TZmqVGohDgg1YRLkYRxrQhasCUaHnQw/edit?usp=sharing

Jan 12, 2018

Which animal is the pound for pound language champion? What is so special about bird brains? Can a budgie lead me to food?

Macken answers all and more on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1o85CPVShpLtfCFho6IT-JLwtBsODrK4sI1pCTfMjQgI/edit?usp=sharing

Jan 12, 2018
Greenland Shark

Can a Greenland shark live for 500 years? Do Greenland sharks hunt for moose? Why did a Danish physicist need shark eyes?

Macken answers all and more on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zdBDlpxQuGJCG5q7Fbzq-gVIo64WkV304rHUGr6pkeM/edit?usp=sharing

Jan 12, 2018

Why do opossums get hit by cars? How did the opossum, a marsupial, end up in America? Did an opossum really meet the King and Queen of Spain?

Macken answers all and more on this episode of Species.

Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1A1a3jRFD0b4AAsWpE1W2Bb-uwRq2f5IezAYm2Asjm0k/edit?usp=sharing


Jan 09, 2018