Dances with Wolf Avatars (the play)

A performance in celebration of the retirement of Dr. Christine Janis, based loosely on the paper of the same name that she co-authored with Patricia Wilhelm.  They argued that the pursuit predation practiced by wolves and other canids today is an evolutionarily recent strategy that long post-dated the evolution of unguligrade locomtion in ungulate prey species. In this play, any resemblance to actual processes, species, or persons, living or extinct, micro- or macro-, evolutionary or ecological, is entirely coincidental.

Biogeographic history of the red wolf

This video presents a series of maps showing reconstructions of the geographic ranges of the Red wolf (Canis rufus) and Coyote (Canis latrans) from the 18th century to present.  The maps and video were created as part of a US National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report that recommended a research strategy for determining this historical status of the Red wolf as a species.

Resilience, Climate, and Species: Perspectives from Deep Time

This webinar originally took place on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 as a part of IU Institute for Advanced Study's "Resilience & Memory in Archives, Libraries, and Museums" 2021-2022 series.

Paleontology and U.S. National Monuments

As part of the speaker series at the Royal Tyrell Museum in Alberta, David discusses the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, the amazing discoveries that have been made there, the importance of U.S. public lands to science, and the politics that led to their downsizing and eventual restoration.

Forgotten Voices - House Committee Hearing on Utah National Monument Cuts

The Department of the Interior received more than 2.8 million public comments on its decision illegally shrinking Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. An overwhelming majority rejected any changes – but the Trump administration went ahead anyway. This is a recording of testimony given on March 13, 2019 to examine the impacts of the biggest rollback of public lands protections in modern history.

Hindlimb extension in the dog

Animation of hindlimb extension in the dog (Canis familiaris).  Created in Blender from a CT scan segmented in Slicer from data available through Embodi3d. (music by Arthur Foote, performed by Arden Trio.)

Introduction to mammals (Taxa in 10)

This short lecture presents an overview of mammal diversity and fossil record.  It was created for (but not used in) the class Introduction to Vertebrate Paleontology.

Science Denial & the Role of the Humanities

The virtual speaker series "TAKE 3: IU-Bavarian Talks" brings together scholars from Indiana University (IU) and Bavarian American Academy (BAA) network institutions for three academic conversations to spotlight the breadth of joint transatlantic research expertise. Christoph Irmscher, Kirsten Twelbeck and David Polly will discuss how the humanities and social sciences can contribute their expertise, shift the public discourse to make it more permeable for nuances, and help disentangle the seemingly chaotic web of conspiracy narratives, political distrust, and anti-elitism that has infected contemporary society.

An extinct Bermudian land snail

The extinct Bermudian snail Poecilozonites nelsoni conoides rendered from a CT scan of Yale Peabody Museum specimen IP 107201 (music composed by Strauss).

On Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and US National Monuments

David discusses paleontology, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, and the implications for science of the cuts made in 2017 to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah.  

Skull and braincase of the extinct carnivore Viverravus acutus

Slice through video of the based of the skull and braincase of the ancient carnivore Viverravus acutus (ca. 53 million years ago). This video was published as part of a paper showing for the first time that the viverravids had a bony covering on their ear. From Polly et al. (2006). The original specimen was collected by Holly Smith and is housed at the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology.

Ear region of the extinct carnivore Viverravus

Slice through video of the auditory bulla and ear region of the ancient carnivore Viverravus acutus (ca. 53 million years ago). This video was published as part of a paper showing for the first time that the viverravids had a bony covering on their ear. From Polly et al. (2006). The original specimen was collected by Peter Houde and is housed in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.

Brownian motion in a hexagonal world

A Brownian motion random walk on a hexagonal grid.  Created as part of code development for the research presented in Polly (2020) on functional trade-offs.  

Verdian motion

Phenotypic differentiation by Brownian motion caused by small population founder effect and "surfing" in species with cyclically expanding and contracting ranges.  This is a full-color animation with soundtrack by Verdi of data presented in Polly (2019) on spatial processes.

Prepared for Environmental Change: the Challenge and the Data

Presentation on the Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge program given as part of the Peebles Memorial Lecture series to the IU Advanced Cyber Infrastructure Group in 2018. 

Cardiology 101

This video explains cardiology for the post graduate. Sort of....