The B Broadcast: Bees, Beans, Bears, and Butterflies. May 19, 2023, Part 2
Science Says Eat More Beans
Beans are delicious, high in protein, inexpensive, efficient to grow, and an absolute staple in so many cuisines. So why don’t Americans eat more of them? The average American eats 7.5 pounds of beans annually, which is only a few cans of beans every year.
The answer is complicated, but one thing is sure: Beans have a PR problem. Ira talks with Julieta Cardenas, a Future Perfect Fellow at Vox, who reported this story.
If you’re looking to chef it up, read some of the SciFri staff’s favorite bean recipes.
The World According To Sound: Feeding Time
In this story from our friends at The World According to Sound, we’ll take a sonic trip to Yellowstone National Park. You’ll hear the sounds of two grizzlies feasting on a bison. It’s very rare that a bear can take down an adult bison, but they will chow down on animals that are already dead, like if they were killed by wolves or a car.
The World According to Sound is a live audio show, online listening series, and miniature podcast, created by Chris Hoff and Sam Harnett.
Bees Have Feelings, Too
Few pollinators have the charisma of bees, so much so that the phrase “save the bees” has become a calling card for those who consider themselves ecologically-conscious. There are more than 21,000 species of bees, ranging from the very recognizable bumblebees to the vibrant blue and green Augochloropsis metallica.
Pollination ecologist Stephen Buchmann has studied bees for nearly fifty years, learning about everything from their natural behaviors to how they respond to puzzles. All of this has led him to a fascinating conclusion: bees are sentient, and they have feelings.
Stephen joins Ira from Tucson, Arizona to talk about his new book, What a Bee Knows. Read an excerpt from the book here.
Pinning Down The Origin Of Butterflies
One of the highlights of being outdoors in warmer weather is spotting a delicate, colorful butterfly exploring the landscape. There are over 19,000 different species of butterflies around the world—and all of them evolved from some enterprising moth that decided to venture out in the daytime, around 100 million years ago. But just where that evolutionary fork in the road occurred has been a matter of scientific debate, with many researchers positing a butterfly origin in Australia or Asia.
Writing this week in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, researchers report on a new phylogenetic map of butterfly evolution, a lepidopteran family tree, combining genetic data with information from fossils, plants, and geography to trace back the origin and spread of butterflies. They find that butterflies likely split from moths in what is now Central or North America, before spreading to South America, crossing oceans to Australia and Asia, and eventually spreading to Europe and Africa.
Dr. Akito Kawahara, professor, curator, and director of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the Florida Museum of Natural History and one of the authors of the report, joins Ira to talk about the findings and share some other surprising facts about butterflies.
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Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on sciencefriday.com.