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Apr. 12, 2012

Time Travelers

by Annette Heist

Click to enlarge images
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This week we’ll talk with Piotr Naskrecki, an entomologist and photographer who beautifully combines both disciplines in his new book Relics: Travels in Nature’s Time Machine. Naskrecki spent years documenting what he calls nature’s “relics”– organisms that are often the last living carriers of genetic information that has otherwise disappeared from Earth’s gene pool.
 
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One example: horseshoe crabs. Naskrecki says these creatures have been around longer than most of the organisms on Earth. Fossils of a species closely related  to “modern” horseshoe crabs date back 445 million years. “Dinosaurs came and went…but horseshoe crabs slowly plowed forward,” Naskrecki writes. By studying the modern-day species, we can find out what life on Earth (or at least some parts of Earth) was like millions of years ago, he says.
 
But the book goes far beyond the horseshoe crabs of the Jersey shore. Naskrecki traveled from New Guinea to New Zealand and beyond, photographing genetic relics ranging from katydids and walking sticks, to tuataras (a reptile) and frogs.
 
Check out some images from his book in the slideshow above.
*Enlarge slideshow to see images with portrait orientation uncropped.
 
Listen to the Science Friday interview below.
 
About Annette Heist

Annette Heist is a former senior producer for Science Friday.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

Science Friday® is produced by the Science Friday Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Science Friday® and SciFri® are registered service marks of Science Friday, Inc. Site design by Pentagram; engineering by Mediapolis.

 

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