Stuart Wigby

A Month is the Life


Aukje Koks’s work made me realise how many of our behaviours are very distinctly human. The daily lives of people, our etiquettes and formalities; they often seem so far removed from the basic similarities we share with other animals. Things like growing, learning, courting, reproducing, dying. Shared factors that ultimately drive the strange behaviours we perform from day to day.

The complex daily human behaviours referenced in Aukje’s work contrast somewhat with the simpler daily behaviour of fruit flies. Here in three and a half minutes you can see what they get up to (almost) every daylight half-hour of their month-long life. A kind of high-speed fruit-fly Big Brother. The song accompanying the video perhaps anthropomorphises the flies – or maybe it accentuates how different they are from us… YOU DECIDE.

Stuart Wigby is a biologist at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. He studies the genetics and evolution of sex and death, often using fruit flies as a model system. He also contributes to science communication projects by writing, performing and recording folk-punk songs under the alias of Stuart Noah.

Song performed by Antica Culina & Stuart Noah.