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This edition: The Unity and Diversity of Life

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Episode Details

Beginning with the features that distinguish living matter from nonliving matter, the program provides an overview of biology. Scientists expand on the theme of “What is life?” by bringing up new questions: What do we mean by unity? By diversity? Dr. Paul Saltman describes the flow of energy from the sun to living organisms, while Dr. Christopher Wills discusses sexual reproduction as a means of genetic diversification.
The next question explored is “What is the scientific method?” Biologists Bonnie Roohk and John Moore outline the steps in the scientific method against the backdrop of a specific example: researchers apply the techniques in an investigation of pesticide resistance in mosquitoes.
In the third segment, paleontologist Blaire Van Valkenburgh uses scientific method to study the unity and diversity of life. By analyzing bone structure in fossilized saber-tooth cats, she traces the evolution and extinction of different species.
The ultimate goal is to inspire an appreciation for the processes that contributed to the amazing variety, yet common threads, of life.