Is The Anus Really The Key To All Intelligent Life? | Henry Gee

Paleontologist Henry Gee humorously explains to us why the anus was the key to large animals evolving, how the large size of our “dangly bits” is unique to our species, and what exactly has been the significance to humans about bipedalism. Our colorful discussion with Henry hilariously highlights many of the mysteries surrounding our life on earth.

The anus was the key to all intelligent life, which is why one tends to have one's best ideas while sitting on the loo. ~ Henry Gee Share on X

Henry describes himself as a “recovering paleontologist”, but he is also an author, and a musician. His day job is the senior editor of the scientific journal Nature.

Having written numerous books, including The Accidental Species, The Science of Middle-Earth, Jacob’s Ladder and In Search of Deep Time, Henry protested to his publisher that he wouldn’t write another [expletive] book. But Henry wrote another [expletive] book and we’re so glad he did! A (Very) Short History of Life On Earth is a fun and informative review of the delicate balance that has allowed life to survive and flourish on the planet.


(5:49) Welcome and speed round questions.

(10:21) Why was the development of the anus the key to all intelligent life?

(13:01) Why are there no dinosaur sized animals anymore?

(18:32) The story of why Henry wrote A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth.

(23:55) Why bipedalism is such a mystery and a marvel.

(31:57) Humans are uniquely good at endurance running.

(35:07) Why do men have large penises and women have large breasts?

(39:10) The musical significance of cave painting locations.

(42:03) Bach was a rule breaker!

(47:05) What work and music Henry is working on next.

(51:24) Grooving session with Kurt and Tim reviewing what we learnt from Henry.

© 2022 Behavioral Grooves

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AIRDATE: March 20, 2022 EPISODE 283

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Is The Anus Really The Key To All Intelligent Life? | Henry Gee