Credo: Professor Alice Roberts

‘Am I the new David Attenborough? Those shoes will never be filled’

David Attenborough opened my eyes to the natural world For anyone of my generation, he has been such an influential figure in terms of education. So I'm glad David is still working and showing such enthusiasm and compassion. Am I the new David Attenborough? I'm shocked to be compared – no one could aim to replace someone who's such a phenomenon; those shoes will never be filled!

Working on human remains is an exciting challenge When I started on my PhD [in paleopathology], I was surprised how much you could tell about ancient disease by looking for clues in human remains. So initially I was like, gosh, are we actually going to make any diagnosis? But you piece together what you see – like a massive jigsaw.

Science is about that childlike sense of wonder We all have it, yet some people say to me that when they were being taught science at school it destroyed that somehow. So we need to cherish good science teachers who tap into that sense of wonder.

Apes play with your mind There's a sense of weird familiarity you get when you're up close with a chimpanzee [as Roberts was when filming the TV series Origins of Us]. It's very different to looking into a dog's or cat's eyes, as there's almost a sense of recognition between you. But even though they are our closest living relatives, you need to recognise them as wild animals and treat them with the utmost respect. What's desperately sad, though, is that we're wiping them out.

It's unusual for primates to walk on two legs But by doing so ourselves, our hips and knees wear out. And in a modern society of increasing obesity that's going to exacerbate those stresses even more.

Relations between science and politics need to improve I'd like to see [politicians] listening before they start to create policy rather than using science to back policies already created, for social or political reasons. A prime example was the dreadful "Nutt sack affair" as [the science writer] Ben Goldacre called it [the Government scientist David Nutt was fired from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in 2009 for disagreeing with the Government's drug policy], where the Government wanted him to endorse their policies, but if he had done, he would have sold out; scientists need to retain independence.

It's amazing what puppeteers can do At the Walking with Dinosaurs live show it's utterly amazing to see what looks like real dinosaurs prowling around an arena, from a massive brachiosaurus to flying dinosaurs – even as a scientist who's looked at fossils and knew this stuff existed, it feels special.

Professor Alice Roberts, 39, is a paleopathologist, anatomist and TV presenter. She is the spokesperson for 'Walking with Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacular', which embarks on a UK tour starting at the O2 Arena, London on 26 December (dinosaurlive.com/uk)

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Project Manager (Procurement & Human Resources)

Unpaid: Cancer Research UK: If you’re a professional in project management, lo...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup