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Crabs All the Way Down


This week we examine one of nature's most humble creations: crabs. Turns out when you look closely at these little scuttlers, things get surprisingly existential — about how to come into being, how to survive chaos, and how to live. We even examine the possibility of evolutionary destiny.

This episode is a two-parter, a double-decker crab cake of sorts. Served up on a bed of lettuce and beautiful weirdness. The first layer comes from producer Rachael Cusick, and is a story she told live on stage at Pop-Up Magazine (http://www.popupmagazine.com) as a part of their Fall of 2022 tour. It chronicles a cross-species love story between artist Mary Akers (http://maryakers.com/) and an overlooked pet store companion, a creature that even Chris Tudge (https://zpr.io/MyUNwPAaqewg) — the scientist dedicated to this creature, you could say — could not get a ring on. The second layer is cooked up by Lulu, who tries to understand why crabs keep evolving (according to recent work by Jo Wolfe (https://zpr.io/2GftY9RjbLkF), Heather Bracken-Grissom (https://zpr.io/HhvMVfnThp5P) and Javier Luque (https://zpr.io/xBiQHEtNSKZr)).

Crack a leg and see what we mean.

Special thanks to the entire team at Pop Up Magazine, Randi Rotjan, Jan Pechenik, Renae Brodie, Samantha Edmonds, whose story (https://zpr.io/ELQS4VkJGaSa) from The Outline introduced us to Mary,


Reported by - Rachael Cusick and Lulu Miller
with help from - Annie McEwen
Produced by - Becca Bressler
with help from Ekedi Fausther-Keeys
Original music and sound design contributed by - Ghost Girl, Jeremy Bloom
with mixing help from - Arianne Wack
Fact-checking by - Diane Kelly
and Edited by - Haley Howle and Pat Walters


If you want more details about hermit crab breeding, head over to Mary’s blog to read more: http://maryakers.com/inthecrabitat/

Or check out the Land Hermit Crab Owners Society: https://lhcos.org/

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Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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