On the 17th November 2015, the TNAM team were invited to host a panel discussion, following a screening of Jurassic World at Manchester’s Odeon Cinema, as part of the Into Film Festival. The Festival is a free and annual celebration of film and education for 5-19 year olds across the UK, and we were delighted to have been involved. Joining us on the panel were Dr Bill Sellers, an expert in dinosaur movements from the University of Manchester, and previous TNAM interviewee and evolutionary geneticist Dr Ed Harris, from Manchester Metropolitan University. We were also joined by approximately 350 school students, from across the Greater Manchester region, and this episode of the podcast is a live recording of the event.
Following a short discussion with Bill and Ed about the realism of the film and some of the ethical dilemmas that it throws up, the floor was opened to the students to ask their own questions, of which there were plenty! In fact there were so many that we had to impose a time limit, as otherwise I think we would all still be sat there listening to Bill and Ed tell us why most dinosaurs have feathers instead of scales, and the moral maze that surrounds de-extinction. As well as dinosaurs and genetics, many other topics were also covered, including the storage of seeds in Svalbard and the possibility of gene slicing. The young boy who asked how he could implant the bioluminescence of a jellyfish in his dogs clearly has a future as a Bond villain.
The quality of the questions that were asked at the event certainly made our job even easier than usual, and Bill and Ed also remarked on how impressed they were by the insight shown by the students. Just watch out for those luminous dogs!
A big thanks to the whole Odeon Printworks and Into Film teams, especially Tarah Patel for all of her wonderful organisation in helping to organise the event. Big thanks also to Neil Cochrane from the IT team at MMU for his sterling work as audio technician.
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