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Lassoing lizards and LEGO creativity with Dr. Earyn McGee

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What’s a herpetologist? Are scientists creative? How do you safely lasso a lizard without hurting them? Meet Dr. Earyn McGee, a herpetologist who studies lizards in Arizona. McGee started #FindThatLizard, a camouflaged lizard photo search game for her online followers, and continues to prompt conversations about conservation, ecology, and inclusivity in science.

This LEGO video for their Build it Be it series, shares her work and play as a scientist, her goals as a kid and as an adult, and how she infuses creative thinking into how she works in her field. From the video:

“Creativity plays a bigger role than scientists get credit for. Having different ways of thinking about the world and interpreting the information that you receive just helps you be a better scientist because you have to be quick on your feet…”

Earyn in the field

“When you’re coming up with questions and a research plan, creativity definitely plays a big role in it. Your upbringing, your culture, all of that stuff influences who you are as a scientist and the questions that you ask and the things that you’re interested in.”

Dr. McGee catching a lizard

“We are out pretty much all day looking for lizards, lassoing lizards. The idea is to get this loop over the lizard’s head. The lizards are heavy enough where they will collapse the loop, but they are light enough where it won’t actually hurt them.”

Lassoing a lizard

“We will take data from the lizard, so we’re looking at body measurements, its length, its tail length. If it’s shedding or not, we’ll take stuff like toe clippings or fecal samples. We’ll give it a number, so that way we know that we’ve already caught it during the season. Then we’ll let it go and we’ll move on to the next site.”

Earyn in LEGO
Follow Earyn McGee at @afro_herper on Twitter and Instagram. Can you #FindThatLizard in the image below?

Then watch another video about Dr. Earyn McGee: What does a herpetologist do with a lizard once she’s caught it?

And check out these related videos on TKSST:
• Visiting a bear’s winter den with scientist Rae Wynn-Grant
• Adania Flemming, Fish Whisperer, on Becoming Visible
• Rock-Paper-Scissors Lizards
• LEGO Artist Ekow Nimako’s All Black LEGO Sculptures
• LEGOscope: A DIY microscope made out of LEGO

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