Lights, Camera, Action!

A new BBC series on evolution will feature an important Academy fossil discovery.

January 31, 2013

Ted Daeschler talks with the BBC

It was lights, camera, action! in Dr. Ted Daeschler’s paleontology lab on the Academy’s fourth floor in late January. A film crew working for the BBC spent the day filming Daeschler and his major fossil find, Tiktaalik roseae, for an upcoming BBC series on evolution.

Because Tiktaalik was such an important discovery—it was announced to the world on the cover of Nature in 2006—its amazing evolutionary story continues to be told. Tiktaalik trolled the warm shallow waters of what is now Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic 375 million years ago. The creature had features of both a fish and a limbed animal, making it a key marker in the transition of fish to tetrapods (animals with four limbs and a backbone).

In the BBC documentary, to be narrated by Sir Richard Attenborough, Daeschler will recount the stories of fieldwork high above the Arctic Circle and why Tiktaalik is so important in understanding evolution.

This is the second time in just over a year that the Academy has caught the attention of the BBC. The first time they shot a segment about the public page-turning of our John James Audubon double-elephant folio, The Birds of America, for their Art of America series.

You can see a cast of Tiktaalik roseae at the Academy and at

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