Rock, paper, scissors, lizard

3 minutes

How multicoloured side-blotched lizards put game theory into evolutionary action

The side-blotched lizard, native to the sprawling Central Valley in California, has one of nature’s most fascinating breeding patterns. The males of the species come in three different colour varieties – blue, orange and yellow – with each colour corresponding to a different mating strategy. According to researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, each variety has a mating advantage over one of its competitors but a disadvantage in relation to the other, which is why male side-blotched lizards have been locked in an ongoing evolutionary stalemate for millennia. And when things get out of balance, the females step in to set things right. Amazingly, this evolutionary game of rock, paper, scissors has continued for 15 million years.

Producer: John Cassidy

Video by KQED Science and PBS Digital Studios

Narrator and Writer: Amy Standen

Video/Art

Born of pain, filled with power – a teenage girl’s art that confronts in order to heal

6 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/Metaphysics

Stephanie regrets passing up a great opportunity. Can modal realism help?

5 minutes

Video/History

Albania built 750,000 bunkers for a war that never came. Now what?

24 minutes

Idea/Ecology & Environmental Sciences

Polar bears need to be fat, and they can’t be without sea ice

Thea Bechshoft

Essay/Epidemiology

Who names diseases?

Swine Flu, Naples Soldier, Ebola. Disease names express fear, create stigma and distract attention. Can they be improved?

Laura Spinney

Video/Mathematics

Getting down with squares – the dance styles of geometry

6 minutes

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Idea/Space Exploration

Space exploration is still the brightest hope-bringer we have

Earle Kyle

Video/Evolution

Watch as the whale becomes itself: slowly, slowly, from land to sea, through deep time

10 minutes

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Essay/History of Science

The cosmology of Poe

Drawing on intuition, Edgar Allan Poe offered some remarkably prescient ideas about the universe in his poem 'Eureka'

Paul Halpern