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Published by: api-25885481 on Apr 14, 2010
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Program Description
 Earth teems with a staggering variety of animals, including 9,000 kinds of  birds, 28,000 types of fish, and more than 350,000 species of beetles. Whatexplains this explosion of living creatures²1.4 million different speciesdiscovered so far, with perhaps another 50 million to go? The source of life'sendless forms was a profound mystery until Charles Darwin brought forthhis revolutionary idea of natural selection. But Darwin's radical insightsraised as many questions as they answered. What actually drives evolutionand turns one species into another? To what degree do different animals relyon the same genetic toolkit? And how did
we
evolve?"What Darwin Never Knew" offers answers to riddles that Darwin couldn'texplain. Breakthroughs in a brand-new science²nicknamed "evo devo"² are linking the enigmas of evolution to another of nature's great mysteries,the development of the embryo. NOVA takes viewers on a journey from theGalapagos Islands to the Arctic, and from the explosion of animal forms half a billion years ago to the research labs of today. Scientists are finally beginning to crack nature's biggest secrets at the genetic level. The resultsare confirming the brilliance of Darwin's insights while revealing clues tolife's breathtaking diversity in ways the great naturalist could scarcely haveimagined.
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ranscriptWhat Darwin Never Knew
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BS Air Date: December 29, 2009
 NARRATOR:
One question: "Why is there such a stunning diversity of life?"One answer: "Evolution: Charles Darwin's brilliant theory that explains howspecies adapt and change." It's been called the best idea anyone ever had.But there's one big problem: How does it actually work? Now, extraordinary science is answering that question. It is uncovering thehidden mechanisms inside creatures' bodies that can explain astonishing
 
transformations like how birds can evolve from dinosaurs; why a fish wasonce your ancestor; and above all, what makes us human.Right now on NOVA, you'll find out, What Darwin Never Knew.The tree of life on Earth, is one of stunning diversity: 9,000 species of birds,350,000 kinds of beetles, 28,000 types of fish; 2,000,000 living species andcounting. And we are just one of them.But why is there such an amazing variety of animals? Why are there somany types of fish, so many different species of beetle? How did thisextraordinary profusion of life on Earth come about?Today we celebrate the man who would ultimately answer that question:Charles Darwin.He was born 200 years ago, and it is 150 years since he published the work that has become the bedrock of our understanding of life on Earth.
CLIFF 
TAB
 I 
 N 
(Harvard Medical School): What Darwin wanted tounderstand was how you get this extraordinary diversity of life on Earth. Hewas spot on. He really nailed it.
 NARRATOR:
Darwin's theory of evolution, his account of why species adaptand change, has been called the best idea anyone ever had.But even Darwin admitted that his work was incomplete. Vast questionswere still unanswered. And the biggest question was, "How?" How didevolution take place?
SEAN 
 
 B.
 ARRO
 LL
(University of Wisconsin±Madison/Howard HughesMedical Institute): He didn't know any of the mechanics of that process. Hedidn't understand the physical forces that would actually change the wayspecies appeared.
 NARRATOR:
But today we can answer the questions that Darwin could not.We can look under the hood of evolution, and see exactly how thismysterious process gives rise to such astounding diversity.
CLIFF 
TAB
 I 
 N:
What's incredible about this timing, from a scientific perspective, is we're going to be able to understand that diversity. And that
 
 just adds to the excitement. It doesn't demystify it, it makes it all the moremagical.
 NARRATOR:
And this is the magic and mystery of evolution: over eons of time a single species gives rise to many. An ancient fish evolves to becomethe ancestor of all four-limbed animals, even us. And one species, our own,develops a large and uniquely complex brain, enabling us to dominate the planet.This is the search for the answers to what Darwin never knew.Darwin began his love affair with nature when he was a child, just like manyof his modern followers, including evolutionary biologist Sean Carroll.
SEAN 
 ARRO
 LL
:
I developed my interest in animals the same way I think most biologists did, which was either going out in the backyard or going tozoos.And anytime I got a chance, I'd flip over logs and look for salamanders andsnakes and frogs and things like this. And I was just fascinated with their  patterns and behaviors.
 NARRATOR:
So it was with the young Charles Darwin.Young Charles liked to traipse around outdoors. He loved to collect beetlesand things. He was a completely ordinary kid. And he didn't like school.In fact he was such a poor student that his father, a rather successful physician and a pretty imposing figure, was worried about Darwin'sdirection in life.So his father packed him off to Edinburgh, the finest medical school inEurope, to become a doctor. But young Charles was just too squeamish.
SEAN 
 ARRO
 LL
:
He was really horrified by medical school. He witnessesan operation on a child²and this was in the era before anaesthetics²and hefled the operating theater, vowing never to return.
 NARRATOR:
Next his father sent him to Cambridge to study for the clergy.He didn't succeed at that either, but he did find his direction in life, revivinghis childhood interest in nature.

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