Prosanta Chakrabarty studies fish to help explain the evolution of human beings and our planet.

Why you should listen

Dr. Prosanta Chakrabarty is a professor and Curator of Fishes at the Museum of Natural Science and Department of Biological Science at Louisiana State University. He is a systematist and an ichthyologist studying the evolution and biogeography of both freshwater and marine fishes. His work includes studies of Neotropical (Central and South America, Caribbean) and Indo-West Pacific (Indian and Western Pacific Ocean) fishes. His natural history collecting efforts include trips to Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Madagascar, Panama, Kuwait and many other countries. He has discovered over a dozen new species including new anglerfishes and cavefishes.

The LSU Museum of Natural Science fish collection that Chakrabarty oversees includes nearly half a million fish specimens and nearly 10,000 DNA samples covering most major groups of fishes. He earned his PhD at the University of Michigan and his undergraduate degree is from McGill University in Montreal. He has written three books, including Explaining Life through Evolution. He is also a former Program Director at the National Science Foundation. He was named a TED Fellow in 2016 and a TED Senior Fellow in 2018.

Prosanta Chakrabarty’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Prosanta Chakrabarty


What can cavefish teach us about the world?

May 9, 2018

These weird-looking, isolated aquatic creatures probably won’t star in a Pixar film anytime soon, but by studying them, we can learn about our planet’s past and its future, says evolutionary biologist and ichthyologist Prosanta Chakrabarty.

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Live from TED2018

Into the fray, undaunted: Notes from TED Fellows Session 2 at TED2018

April 11, 2018

To commence TED Fellows Session 2, multi-hyphenate Paul Rucker takes the stage with his cello. (Spoiler alert: you will see him later in this writeup showcasing another artform.) Inspired by his mother, who learned to play the organ through a mail-order course, Rucker taught himself how to play this instrument. But right here on the […]

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