Muppets From Space (1999)


Concept featured in film:Opposable thumbs, human evolution or animal experimentation

Location of clip:

Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: Dr. Tucker explains to Rizzo and the other lab rats that they can't escape from the lab becuase they don't have opposable thumbs. The clip goes on to show Rizzo participating in a number of experiments.

Connection of flick to concept: This is an engaging clip that can be used to begin a discussion about the opposable thumb or animal experimentation.

Suggestions to teachers:
1. Suggested questions for students when viewing the clip:

a. What makes our opposable thumbs unique?

b. What advantages do our opposable thumbs give us? Are there any drawbacks to the opposable thumb? What are our limitations? Do our strengths offset any limitations?

c. What are other aspects of humanity that makes us unique?

d. What effect did the evolution of opposable thumbs have on the evolution of our species?

e. What type of information can we gain from experimentation on animals?

f. What experiements are being shown in the clip? What are the scientists trying to learn? Do real scientists do similar experiments, or are these experiments just used by the movie for laughs?

g. Why are rats and mice frequently used in medical and psychological studies? Can we gain any information about ourselves from these animals? In evolutionary terms, how related are we to rodents?

2. Have students research the laws that govern animal research. How did these laws come about and how have they changed over the years?

3. Have students debate the use of animals for science. The debate should address the use of animals in science and medical school classes, the use of animal experimentation in industry, the use of animals in medical studies, and the use of animals in experimental research science. How is animal experimentation used? What are the benefits to humans? Are there alternative ways to gather information?