The definition of life is in flux, complexity is overrated, and humans are shrinking.
Viruses are supposed to be sleek, pared-down, dead-eyed machines. But when one microbiologist stumbled upon a GIANT virus, hundreds of times bigger than any seen before, all that went out the window. The discovery opened the door not only to a new cast of microscopic characters with names like Mimivirus, Mamavirus, and Megavirus, but also to basic questions: How did we miss these until now? Have they been around since the beginning? What if evolution could go … backwards?
Join Jad and Robert as they grill Radiolab regular Carl Zimmer on these paradoxical viruses – they’re so big that they can get their own viruses! - and what they can tell us about the nature of life.