The quest for perfection has plagued mankind since the dawn of time. We’ve poured countless hours, resources, and money into anything and everything to improve ourselves, be it physically, emotionally, mentally, etc. There seem to be no limits to the Faustian bargains we seek to be the very best version of ourselves. Anatomist Alice Roberts delves into the problems with perfection in her new BBC Four special, Can Science Make Me Perfect?.
In the special, Roberts enlists the help of virtual sculptor Scott Eaton and SFX model maker Sangeet Prabhaker to design a “perfect” version of herself with evolutionary upgrades and improvements. She debuted the finished model in a presentation at the London Science Museum and the results were…something. The audience giggles as Roberts walks them through the “improvements” made to Alice 2.0, which include a chimp’s sturdy lower back to support the transition to walking upright as well as the shock-absorbing legs of an emu.
Included are tiny thigh pumps to improve circulation, a dog’s heart, and the lungs of a swan. Swans, like most birds, have ultra-efficient respiratory systems, which are necessary to be able to fly. Birds can breathe up to ten times faster than mammals, thanks to a one-way breathing system that rapidly intakes and expels enough oxygen to power the bird’s muscles (unlike mammals, whose lungs have a “dead end” where air must flow in and out on the same pathway).
In addition, Alice 2.0’s neck features a choke-proof windpipe, and her sensory capabilities are enhanced by large ears and enlarged, light-sensitive eyes. Oh, and to avoid painful childbirth/baby Bjorns, Alice 2.0 can now carry her baby in a marsupial-style pouch. The model comes complete with an iPhone, because of course it does. Part manimal, part Na’Vi, part Quatto, Alice 2.0 is truly a wonder…or a nightmare, depending on your perspective.
— Prof Alice Roberts (@theAliceRoberts) June 10, 2018
(via The A.V. Club, image: BBC Four)
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