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Understanding how animals survive can ultimately help people survive better, Harlow said.
It was a lesson they would likely never forget, Cotton said.
Harlow brought a toy frog into class and put it in a bucket of ice, telling them he'd leave it there overnight to freeze. Students figured it was a real frog.
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"He's a great people person and also a great storyteller. You're not just getting facts, you're getting it from a perspective that adds intrigue," said Diane Debinski, a professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology at Iowa State University who works with Harlow in the summer.
"He would go into this huge explanation of the math involved and how their bodies survive. Students are bogged down in details and scribbling notes and he would say if the frog had a sudden impact, it would shatter," said Clark Cotton, one of Harlow's former graduate students.
frog on the classroom wall.
Those questions have led him into black bear dens in the middle of winter and ice breakers in the Arctic. They may soon take him to the jungles of Borneo.
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The answer could ultimately lead to the conservation of the world's largest lizards by helping locals know what kind of habitat the dragons need to survive.
Harlow is one of those rare scientists who knows all of the big words and complicated ideas, but explains them in an interesting, digestible way. He talks about research on black tailed prairie dogs' kidneys with the same enthusiasm he tells a story about sneaking into a bear den.
Harlow was lecturing on amphibians and freeze tolerance. Some animals mostly frogs can essentially freeze in the winter and thaw in the spring because of water outside of their cells.
"We would get a piece of goat meat on the end of a rope and then just start running.
Harlow, 70, is retiring sort of. He has worked at UW for 32 years and wants to try something different, which means leaving the university and his position as director of the UW and National Park Service Research station. It doesn't mean a life of leisure. In December, he heads to a teaching job in Australia. More research could follow, because he still has questions.
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ï»¿University of Wyoming professor crawls in bear dens
Which is why Harlow, a University of Wyoming professor and researcher, needed to take the dragon's temperature.
Harlow started by working in a foundry in east Los Angeles during college. at UW.
Harlow can, Gribb said.
Harlow has not only uncovered countless new findings about some of the planet's rarest species, he has pioneered bear hibernation research that could help humans heal and preserve muscles during a coma or bed rest.
All of Harlow's projects start with questions. Some are about how to help save a species. Others look at how a species' unique characteristic could help humans.
of ice and hurl the ice against the classroom wall. Students would scream, sure their professor had just killed a rare, frozen frog as a demonstration.
"Some people are very good researchers and not good in the classroom, and vice versa," Bill Gribb, a UW geology professor, said. "It's a very small percentage of faculty that can combine them."
"You don't want to trip, you know? They're right behind you. But as long as you can run faster than they can, then you're fine."
His lecture continued the next day.
Like that time his students thought he shattered a live, frozen Nike Huarache Ultra Jacquard White
In 2012, UW gave him the George Duke Humphrey award, the highest honor given to faculty.
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