Episode 80 – Emu: The Bird Wars of Australia

“And today we’re talking about a bird, not Eastern Michigan University, which I guess has the eagle as its mascot so that’s also a bird. But we’re discussing a different bird. So if some silly SEO sent you here, stay awhile. You might learn something.”

Australians are no strangers to deadly animals, everything from the venomous spiders to the fire-starting hawks wants to ruin their day. But 80 years ago, one animal got the best of them. The emu is a giant bird with a big appetite, and when it started eating crops from down under, the Australians did the only thing that made sense at the time, they declared war on them. But sometimes it all comes down to man vs nature in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

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Episode 79 – Desert Kangaroo Rat: A Mouse Divided

“And today we’re talking about a rat that’s metaphorically faster than a speeding bullet. But more on that later.”

In nature, you’re a predator, prey, or both. When you’re small and delicious, you’re probably pretty low on the food chain. But there’s a rodent that lives in Mojave Desert that’s so adapted to dealing with fast predators, they’ve developed some interesting superpowers. If you live in a harsh environment filled with predators that are bigger than you, you’ve got to use every skill in your playbook to survive. But it’s time for the tiny to get tough in Life, Death, and Taxonomy. 

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Episode 78 – Reticulated Glass Frog: Clear Frogs Full Hearts

“And today we’re talking about a creature with a clear eyes and a full heart. But more on that later.”

When it comes to relationships, one of the best qualities is transparency. When you find that special someone, you can really open up and let that special someone see your heart—as well as your liver and small intestine. The reticulated glass frog has nothing to hide, but it does possess secret kung-fu powers that only humans and a select few unfortunate wasps have come to learn about. But if you’re going to be a frog dad, it pays to be a ninja frog dad here in Life Death and Taxonomy.

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Episode 77 – Red-Capped Manakin: The Moonwalking Glitch Bird

“And today we’re talking about a bird that claps for himself. But more on that later.”

Dance is the language of love. Or at least, that’s the motto of a variety of birds in rain forests around the world. Some animals fight for their mates, but why do that when you can settle things with style? One small South American bird takes his dance to the next level buy incorporating some moves that are big on the pop scene. But when your a bird of very small stature, you have to do whatever it takes to catch the eye of an eligible bachelorette in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

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Episode 76 – Cuckoo Bird: Lazy Not Crazy

“Today we’re talking about a crummy parent and a nasty little child. But more on that later.”


Like the social programs that Ayn Rand despises so much, parasites exist to profit off of someone else with no benefit to the host. The cuckoo bird likes making kids, but hates raising them. They’re a lot of work, and they’d rather fly around and squawk at things rather than be parents. So they take the sleazy parasite route. But how can they get anyone else to feed and spank their kids? It’s all about being the biggest bird in the bush here in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

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