Scientist spotlight: Dr. Aja Carter, who studies dinosaurs, says climate change is outpacing animals’ ability to evolve

YouTube screenshot / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Dr. Aja Carter, a scientist at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in animal-inspired robotics.

Power plants, fossil fuels, emissions and renewables get most of the attention when you start talking about climate change.

This week, with a series of three audio stories as part of StateImpact Pennsylvania’s participation in the Covering Climate Now initiative, we’re taking time to talk about dinosaurs, fish and wetlands.

Donna McDermott, an American Association for the Advancement of Science Mass Media Fellow, spent part of the summer with StateImpact Pennsylvania. Among other work, she produced stories about:

  • Dr. Camille Gaynus of the University of Pennsylvania, a marine ecologist who works with coral reefs and how they respond to climate change-related issues;
  • Dr. Aja Carter of Penn, who studies dinosaur bones and what they can tell us about today’s natural environment; and
  • Ellie Nasr, a geographer at Penn State whose work with virtual reality helps people “see” the consequences of their environmental decisions.

“The planet is getting warmer, and animals cannot respond to how quickly it is getting warmer,” Carter says. “… So instead of evolving new forms, they’re just going extinct. And extinction is forever.”

Listen to Carter’s story

Watch videos of these scientists as part of WITF’s Summer STEM Adventure curriculum.

StateImpact Pennsylvania is participating in Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

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