Hey Bill Nye! What's the Evolutionary Purpose of Music and Art?

The impulse to create art and music comes from deep evolutionary drives, explains Bill Nye the Science Guy. In the animal kingdom, song and visual displays are great tools for, um, flirting.

Michael Montoya: Hi Bill. Michael Montoya here. What do you think is the evolutionary advantage to humanity being both musically and artistically creative? And where do you think this initial spark of creativity came from?

Bill Nye: Michael. Michael. This is a great question and susceptible to speculation. Apparently music and art is part of the way we communicate and it's certainly the way you attract mates. I'll just put it to you that way. Musicians and artists engage other people in a way that people who don't use music and don't use art do not. Now, there's a lot of talk about songbirds in evolutionary biology and they all have these songs, which must be pleasing to the ears of their potential mates and also must send messages to others of their species, so I guess to other species as well. I am angry; this is my territory; I'm looking for a mate; it's a sunny day. These sort of announcements are made by other species so you figure humans have just taken it just a whole other level with albums and record release parties and art exhibits and art museums and art galleries. So it really is deep within us and I think art enriches our lives, engages our brains and stimulates us in a way that nothing else we do does. So, this is only speculation on my part but music especially certainly inspires us. That's for sure. So carry on Michael. Turn it up loud.

The impulse to create art and music comes from deep evolutionary drives, explains Bill Nye the Science Guy. In the animal kingdom, song and visual displays are great tools for, um, flirting.

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Keep reading Show less

A UN-style partition plan for 'red' and 'blue' America

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce – and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less