A Scientific Jonah: My profile of Joy Reidenberg in tomorrow's New York Times

By Carl Zimmer | February 6, 2012 7:08 pm

For anyone in the US who likes to know what it’s like inside a giraffe (hands up, people), it was frustrating to discover the show Inside Nature’s Giants airing on British TV. The best we could manage were snippets on YouTube. Now the show is here in the States. The other day I spent some time with one of the main scientists of the show, Joy Reidenberg, an anatomist at Mount Sinai School of  Medicine. I’ve written a profile of her, both as a researcher who’s discovering fascinating new things about whales, and as that most improbable thing: a celebrity anatomist. Check it out.

Be sure to take a look at the extras on the page, such as the podcast, video, and graphic instructions for how to dissect a 50-ton whale.

[Photo courtesy of Joy Reidenberg]

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Life In Motion, Writing Elsewhere

Comments (5)

  1. “She hopes the show will bring some attention to the science of anatomy, which is often overshadowed by high-profile fields like genetics and stem cell research.”

    Couldn’t genetics be considered a specialization of anatomy? And stem cell research too?

  2. James Davies

    I’ve been watching these “Inside Nature’s Giants” shows and have been loving them. Thanks for the great profile.

  3. zackoz

    If I recall correctly, I may have seen the episode on the giraffe a while back, showing the recurrent vagus nerve (have I got the right term?), coming from the brain, descending the neck and looping right back up.

    A wonderful example of nature’s conspicuously weird design flaws.

  4. Greg Peterson

    Thanks for this article, Carl. My girlfriend and I got a big kick out of it because we have become such huge fans of Joy and her work. She’s got style and charisma! And we love the show’s off-handed acceptance of evolution, which should be standard for nature programming, but except for episodes of NOVA and the like targeted specifically at teaching something about evolution, we’ve noticed what seems like a shyness about using terms like “adaptation” and the like. Having Dawkins pop in with a little evolutionary commentary spices up the subject matter.

  5. Joy Reidenberg

    Dear Zackoz:
    Yes, we did do an episode ont he giraffe where we showed the “unintelligent design” of the looping branch of the vagus nerve 9called the recurrent laryngeal nerve). It aired in the UK on Channel 4, and in the US it aired under the title of “Raw Anatomy” on the National Geographic Channel and then again as INside Nature’s Giants on Nat Geo Wild. Clips from the British version of this show can probalby still be found on YouTube, but if you want to see it on American television, please write to PBS and let them know you would likethem to air more episodes of Inside Nature’s Giants. Windfall Films has filmed 18 episodes of Inside Nature’s Giants so far! Thanks, Joy


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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