Trees A Crowd


Tannis Davidson: Bulletproof elephants, 3D-printing a quagga and cloning thylacines

Season 1, Ep. 17

Tannis Davidson is the curator of the Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy at University College London. From unearthing the dismembered arms of mummies at archaeological digs in Egypt to searching for fossils in Beijing, Tannis has a rich history in researching and examining the stories of the once living. As one of the few people in the world who takes care of animals only once they've died, Tannis' work has her looking after 68,000 specimens. One of the museum’s many accolades is that it houses one of only seven existing quagga skeletons in the world - a type of zebra that is now extinct. Other specimens include biological tissue from the Tasmanian tiger, an elephant tusk with an antique bullet encased within it, a gorilla skeleton which was once photographed hugging H.G.Wells… and a jar of moles!

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Dr William C. Tweed: The secret histories of John Muir’s Giant Redwoods

Season 2, Ep. 18
Dr William C. Tweed is a lover of Big Trees - the Giant Redwoods of California to be precise. An historian and naturalist, he has a career spanning over 30 years working for the US national park service, and after holding several roles at the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, spent a decade as its Chief Naturalist. Whether it’s describing what a Giant Redwood is through a comparison to the miniscule mosquito, or a deep dive into numerous secret histories of mankind's fascinations with these trees, William will have you captivated, falling in love with, and longing to hug, the giant sequoia. In exploring the tree’s many wonderful evolutionary features, and the serene images he paints of the Sierra Nevada, William explains that our passion for sequoias starts with our love of that which is “big, and old, and rare”, and then continues to grow tall. William explores the history of the “Father of the National Parks” himself, John Muir - how his religious upbringing inspired his writing (his works serving as a “secular Bible” for those devoted to nature) - and how the Sierra Club is still following firmly in Muir’s footsteps today. Among William’s teachings are plenty of digressions and distractions - charming moments of a mind as fascinated by nature today as he has ever been.For further information on this and other episodes, visit: