Frozen Frogs, Yeast, Paleobotany. April 27, 2018, Part 2 | WBEZ
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Science Friday

Frozen Frogs, Yeast, Paleobotany. April 27, 2018, Part 2

When winter comes, animals have several options for survival. They can leave their habitats entirely for warmer environments, search for a cozy cave, or even find insulation under a toasty snowbank. And if you’re a wood frog in chilly Ohio or Alaska, or the larvae of a certain wingless midge in Antarctica, you might also just stay put, and freeze solid until the sun returns. But to survive such extreme low temperatures, the bodies of these animals have made some special adaptations: sugars that act like antifreeze, and processes for keeping ice outside their cells to protect their tissues.

Yeast helps your bread to rise and beer to brew, but did you know that there’s yeast in the guts of insects? Or that your body is covered—and filled—with yeast cells? In this segment, recorded live in Miami University’s Hall Auditorium in Oxford, Ohio, mycologist Nicholas Money helps Ira uncover the hidden world of the humble fungus. His new book “The Rise Of Yeast” details some of the ways that the ubiquitous microorganism has helped shape civilization, from baking to biotechnology.

Paleontologists and anthropologists might look to the fossilized bones of early hominins to help fill in the evolutionary story of our species. But paleoecologists like Denise Su, curator and head of paleobotany and paleoecology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, are more interested in what type of environments these early human ancestors were living in millions of years ago.

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