Poop #233

October 04, 2013

This episode was recorded when Science for the People was called Skeptically Speaking.

This week, we’re skipping to the tail end of the digestive tract, to learn some fascinating facts about feces. Rachelle Saunders welcomes science journalist Maryn McKenna back to the show to discuss human gut bacteria, and the biome-boosting power of fecal transplants. Desiree Schell speaks to anthropologist Cecil Lewis about what studying ancient poo can tell us about the evolution of the human microbiome. And Rachelle speaks to zoologist Eric Warrant about how some species of dung beetles can navigate by the light of the night sky.


  • Maryn McKenna
  • Cecil Lewis
  • Eric Warrant
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Guest Bios

Maryn McKenna

Maryn McKenna is a senior writer at WIRED covering health, public health and medicine, including the Covid pandemic, and a faculty member at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Human Health. Before coming to WIRED she freelanced for magazines in the US and Europe including Scientific American, Smithsonian, The New Republic, the Guardian, the New York Times Magazine, and The Atlantic. She graduated from Georgetown University, earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and was a Knight journalism fellow at University of Michigan and MIT. She is the author of "Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats.""Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA", and "Beating Back the Devil: On the Front Lines with Disease Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service".


Cecil Lewis

Cecil Lewis is an Associate Professor in the department of Anthropology at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma. His research interests include anthropological genetics, population genetics, and the evolution of disease associated genetic variation. He heads the Molecular Anthropology Laboratories at the University of Oklahoma.

Eric Warrant

Eric Warrant is a Professor of Zoology and Director of Postgraduate Studies in Biology at the University of Lund in Sweden. Professor Warrant leads a research group studying vision in nocturnal and deep-sea creatures. In addition to his academic research, Eric has also collaborated with Toyota to develop night vision systems for cars, and is part owner of the company Nocturnal Vision AB.