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Mammoth ivory trade may be bad for elephants, and making green electronics with fungus

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On this week’s show: The potentially harmful effects of prehistoric ivory on present-day elephants, and replacing polymers in electronics with fungal tissue

First up this week on the podcast, we hear about the effect of mammoth and mastodon ivory on the illegal elephant ivory trade. Online News Editor Michael Price joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss how as melting permafrost has uncovered fossilized ivory from these extinct creatures, more has entered the ivory trade. The question is: Does the availability of this type of ivory reduce the demand for ivory from elephants, or does it endanger them more?

Next, making electronics greener with fungus with Doris Danninger, a Ph.D. student in the Soft Matter Physics Division at the Institute of Experimental Physics at Johannes Kepler University, Linz. Doris and Sarah discuss the feasibility of replacing the bulky backing of chips and the casing of batteries with sheets of fungal tissue to make flexible, renewable, biodegradable electronics.

This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.

[Image: RudiHulshof/iStock; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

[alt: photo of an elephant tusk with point facing the camera with podcast overlay symbol]

Authors: Sarah Crespi; Michael Price

Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adf8340

About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast

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