It Moves! Life in Action

small brains en masse from Dennis Hlynsky on Vimeo.

As a biology teacher long ago, plant life was hard to get students interested in–until.

Until I could show them fern sperm cells swimming in  a drop of dew or a filament of Oscillatoria or diatoms gliding in drop of pond water. Wait! Plants aren’t supposed to MOVE!

Animals are easier to inspire interest, largely because we can watch them behave: they exhibit action, motion, intention.

And now there are new ways to “see” the patterns of motion in animals–especially those animals who tend to move as groups.

I don’t know everything I wish I did about the technology that makes motion-tracing possible, but I know I enjoyed and was mesmerized by this video–especially the last couple of minutes.

It merges the record of individuals and groups of animals in place with time in a way the eye cannot but only the imagination could–until now–make possible.

By all means, click the vimeo clip to watch if full screen with sound.

Let me know your thoughts.

Share this with your friends!

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Years ago I read the book, “The Secret Life of Plants”. The ideas were stunning, but the format was the printed word, so no visual effects there! The possibilities of developing that theme with the aid of today’s technology are mind-blowing! Just a thought. I like your biology teacher’s perspective!