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Blogger Profile

David Manly
Freelance Science Journalist
Toronto Ontario CAN

David Manly is a freelance journalist who will blog about a wide range of topics that all fall under the umbrella of zoology and ecology. While his expertise lies with reptiles and amphibians, he has a wide array of knowledge and interest in all animal species - from the sponge to the great ape. He hopes you will enjoy his blog, as he plans to make it both entertaining and enjoyable (as well as fill it with interesting facts, tidbits, photos and videos).

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Me as a mad scientist for Halloween two years ago
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Since I've started blogging for LabSpaces, people have asked me to introduce myself more and give a little background education on who I am. So, here are a few short little stories that show you just how exactly I am a scientist that loves to work with animals.

I was always interested in animals, but as a child, my passion was solely focused on dinosaurs. My parents would buy us (NOTE: I will keep referring to us, we, etc... because I am an identical twin, and we did a lot of stuff together as children) dinosaur books by the pound. We just could not get enough!

We were the types of kids that would correct the tour guide at the museum, the ones who would be content just to stare at a dinosaur skeleton for hours on end, and the kids who would annoy the librarian for new dinosaur books.
It got to the point that when our primary school librarian retired, she gave each of us our most requested and checked-out dinosaur books. To this day, I still have mine in my basement.
Oh, and for those who are wondering – my favorite dinosaurs are the Stegosaurus, Pterodactyl and Dimetrodon (and of course, the T-Rex, but everybody loves him).

My love for science and reading didn't stop as I grew older. My parents would try to introduce me to other activities, but I wouldn't have it. I would be content learning and performing science experiments from kits. I still had plenty of friends and hung out with them a lot, but I was always the science kid.
Through my love for dinosaurs, I became interested in animals that we could interact with and observe their behavior, which leads me to a story of one of my favorite places in the world – the zoo.
I remember one trip to the zoo with the family and friends when I was around 7 or so, and we got a tour of the orangutan house by one of the keepers. I liked the information so much, that when my family left to continue to explore other parts of the zoo, I stayed behind. However, I was so enraptured by the animals that I did not tell anyone what I was doing. So, they left.

About 30 minutes later, I realized what had happened and got scared. Therefore, I did the only thing I could think of – find a security guard.
As my Dad is so fond of saying at any family function, "So, we found David talking to a security guard and explaining, as only David could, the current situation. It was then we knew that we could never tear him away from science or animals."
How right he was.

When I reached High School, I was certain I wanted to be a scientist and I was eager to learn, at least, until grade 10.
My science teacher was so bad that he effectively took the love of science right out of me. He couldn't teach well, he gave my lab group a zero because a member of the group had to leave for the funeral of his grandmother, and he made the tests incredibly difficult and focused on topics he didn't even cover.

Suffice to say, I was dismayed. I never thought it was possible, but I no longer wished to pursue science anymore because of that experience. I never wanted to have him as a teacher again, and it took the convincing of my parents to take the next grade science class. And I am so glad that I did.
The teacher I had was amazing. He re-kindled my love for science, and immediately noticed my enthusiasm and passion for biology and animals. If I ever had a question, no matter how complex, he would talk me through it. I was the only student that I know who learned all about gene activation, sex-linked traits and bio-mechanics in grade 11.

There are many more stories that helped turn me into the lovable science guy who see before you, such as two professors in university that saw an opportunity in me, and helped me learn and grow in ways I wasn't even aware of. They know who they are and what they did to make me so thankful, so I will not name them here. But they influenced me and my future career in significant ways.

Having an amazing teacher or mentor is a great idea for any scientist, no matter the age. Who is yours?

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Dr Becca, Ph.D.
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Nice post! The stegosaurus is my favorite, too. Such a tiny head!

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Hi David,
Thanks for sharing your early background. I also was drawn to science as a child. My earliest mentor was my dad. I never realized how seriously damaging a bad teacher could be. I am glad you found a better mentor!

David Manly
Freelance Science Journalist
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Thanks Jade!
There's a lot more to my background, which will probably end up in a later post, but I thought it was important to tell a few illuminating stories about how I became such a zoology fanatic.
The bad teacher was awful, and I never would wish anyone who loves science that kind of punishment. I can imagine that a lot of people can be turned off from science by bad teachers.
As my cousin who is a professor of advanced mathematics says, "Every subject can be interesting. You just need to find the right teacher to teach it."

And Dr. Becca, the Steggy is a great animal (even with the brain THAT small). You have magnificent taste!
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