PLEDGE NOW
Ancient Survivors

Horseshoe crabs, velvet worms – snails, clams, lizards and more. We’ll explore the world’s oldest creatures. Survivors. Untouched by time.

A prehistoric looking horseshoe crab is bathed in the warm light of the morning sunrise on the Chesapeake Bay near Mathews, Va., Friday, Sept. 14, 2007. Horseshoe crabs are considered to be living fossils because their appearance has not changed since their origin over 20 million years ago. (AP)

A prehistoric looking horseshoe crab is bathed in the warm light of the morning sunrise on the Chesapeake Bay near Mathews, Va., Friday, Sept. 14, 2007. Horseshoe crabs are considered to be living fossils because their appearance has not changed since their origin over 20 million years ago. (AP)

Life forms come and go on this planet. An amazing few have stuck around. Through meteorite strike, that wiped out the dinosaurs, and great extinction that killed almost everything. Through ice age and poisoned seas. The horseshoe crab has hung in there. The lungfish. The velvet worm. The gingko tree.

An amazing few are supreme survivors. Mastodon, gone. Musk ox, still here. Platypus, still here. The greatest survivors have lasted billions of years. Humans? Not so much.

This hour, On Point: Lessons on evolution, life and time from the planet’s great survivors.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Richard Fortey, a senior paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. He’s the author of the new book Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms: The Story of the Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind.

C-Segment: Viola Davis at Providence College

You can find a transcript here.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “Fortey’s dozen or so subjects have survived the many cataclysms the planet has thrown at them over the past 450 million years.”

Video: My Favorite Trilobite

Check out this video of Richard Fortey talking about his favorite fossil.

Video: BBC Series “Survivors”

Richard Fortey takes a look at Musk Ox in this special.

Video: BBC Series “Survivors”

Richard Fortey takes a look at horseshoe crabs in this special.

Excerpt: Survivors

Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.

Playlist

“I am a Paleontologist” by They Might Be Giants

“Survivor”  by Destiny’s Child

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
RECENT
SHOWS
Jun 9, 2016

Newly-minted college graduates on the job hunt. We’ll look at who’s hiring, starting salaries, and strategies for landing that first job.

 
Jun 9, 2016

Europe, India and China, are taking on American tech giants over privacy, monopolies, and more. We’ll look at the global technology pushback against the U.S.A.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Jessica Valenti: ‘Objectification Is About Dehumanizing People’
Wednesday, Jun 8, 2016

“There is some power in laying claim to the word victim.” — Jessica Valenti on the Stanford sexual assault case, and the importance of language.

More »
Comment
 
Why The ‘Roots’ Remake Matters (And What Stays The Same)
Tuesday, Jun 7, 2016

The recent remake of “Roots” on the History Channel makes important changes, Morehouse College’s Stephane Dunn argues. But it also holds true to the original story.

More »
Comment
 
Former Trump Advisor Roger Stone: ‘Trump’s Going To Be The Next President’
Monday, Jun 6, 2016

Longtime political consultant Roger Stone apologizes for his “two martini tweets,” even as he predicts Donald Trump will be the next U.S. president.

More »
Comment