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What I am looking for

I would like to start my teaching sessions with short emotional, awe-inspiring or exciting videos that are somehow related to evolutionary biology (incl. diversity of life, history of evolution on earth, specific evolutionary processes, diversity in mating systems, major transitions, etc...)

3-minute long movies would be perfect. 8-10 minute would be a bit too long. The videos should be easily accessible for Bachelor students having little background in evolutionary biology.


Asap Science video about the evolutionary history of life would be a good fit.

This video on the evolution of human face would do but I am not quite sure how exact it is and it feels a little weird that the end product is a white male.

I would be happy if not all suggestions were about recent human history :)

Do you have any suggestions?

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This question might very well be off-topic here. Let me know and I'll delete it. Advice on where to ask such questions would be very welcome. – Remi.b Jan 10 at 20:12
The question is fine and will likely produce a good resource for the community. – AMR Jan 10 at 20:40
@Remi.b I'm curious, is there anything wrong with your first example that you say is a good fit? – Insane Jan 11 at 3:14
@Insane. No, it is a good fit but I am hoping to have several such good fits. – Remi.b Jan 11 at 5:28
@James Oh you are right. But I think you can use that video in a productive way. Show it to "inspire" students and then prick the balloon by carefully explaining why the argument is not acceptable to biologists even if it is so seductive. – biogirl Jan 12 at 13:38

I saw this HHMI video today. It is called The Animated Life of A.R. Wallace, and it discusses the contributions that Alfred R. Wallace made to evolutionary theory. It is a little long for your stated time of 3-minutes. but it talks about how in fits of malaria he came up with his ideas on evolution.

HHMI also has a whole series of videos and modules on Evolution, though Wallace's came to mind as it showed his ambition and desire to solve the problem, even though he had not received formal training in the sciences.

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Nice video. It is nice also to bring some fame to Wallace and not only to Darwin. I'm looking at the other videos on the website. +1 – Remi.b Jan 10 at 20:50

It is not really a video but it is a real life simulation in the browser about vehicles that evolve to master a race track. I project it onto the screen while I introduce genetic algorithms in my data science classes. I then ask people to identify key features of the evolutionary process and we talk about it while the "cars" are still evolving:

People told me that this is really motivating. After that we start programming our first genetic algorithm.

This is a video that I sometimes show additionally (5 min. about robots in an artificial world learning to walk):

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Not quite what I expected but it is nice. I particularly appreciate the evolving car simulator. What population size, type of terrain and mutation rate do you recommend to maximize the speed of improvement? Can you maybe say a word about how you coded the information about the car and how to interpret a mutation? Would be great to have a snapshot of the parent population on the side to understand that we have a population and not just a series of random individuals. +1 – Remi.b Jan 10 at 21:05
@Remi.b: Thank you, I appreciate your feedback. I have to run now but I will answer your questions later! – vonjd Jan 10 at 21:22 Sorry, this video is not short, but perfect. From Kurzgesagt chanel youtube

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Thanks a lot for the suggestion. I agree Kurzgesagt (a.k.a. In a nutshell) is a great channel. The video is a bit long though (as you said). It is also a little too introductory and too general and not very "emotional, awe-inspiring or exciting". – Remi.b Jan 10 at 22:49

protected by WYSIWYG Jan 11 at 5:04

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