Cristian Román-Palacios is a doctoral student at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona. He is widely interested in understanding macroevolutionary patterns, the systematics of different animal groups, and the effects of climate change on biodiversity.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Night Owl

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Sea monkeys and multiple plants (for now)!

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

No, no, I don’t but I have a several fossils in my room

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

Spanish but can understand a few other languages [does that count?]…

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

My second option would be being a school teacher. I have lots of respect for them!

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

Computer sciences!

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Oh Armenia, Quindío in Colombia (AKA home) – Right away! No doubt!

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

The ability to heal living beings

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

My to go would be Salsa (e.g. Grupo Niche, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Hermanos Lebrón, Willie Colón, many others) but Bachata and modern music from the Colombian pacific coast (e.g. ChocQuibTown, Herencia de Timbiquí).

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Oh I’d choose going on a bike ride, and cook some tasty food

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

My family, Music, and Fruits

15 What beverage gives you life?

Any fruit juice, but I’d die for a lulada right now

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Let’s just say that I wasn’t that excited about learning many things in school 🙂

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?


18 What drives you and keeps you going?

The feeling that I’m doing learning/doing relevant, the dream of changing people’s lives, and some mate

19 What got you excited in science?

One of my earliest memories was seeing my dad cast nesting in creeks full of different fish and invertebrate species!

20 What excites you about science now?

Collaborating, coding, and learning new topics!

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

I tend to be on a good mood!

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I think am good at discretizing different aspects of my life

23 What is your favorite game?

Age of Empires!

24 What is the last book you read?

SJG’s full house!

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

It was August 27th (2018) at 7ish am, when mom said, during a short walk: “Why do you get into so many things if you can enjoy live like me” (“Para que te metes en tanta cosas si podes vivir sabroso como yo”). And, as always, she was right.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

I cannot think of anything…

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Oh just do whatever you think is the best

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Traveling when I have time! Nevertheless, I usually just talk to my friends and family about random things – I’m so lucky I have them! One of my favorite songs says: “Cuando tengo frío siempre voy y llamo a lo mio, pa’ que me brinden de su calor, me persigue la mañana, el sol en mi ventana que aparece, cual banda marcial!”

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Avatar, the last airbender – and now I know why I couldn’t remember the last episode

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

I used to carry a few animal skeletons and a book signed by Stephen Jay Gould. Nowadays, I only keep a map, a copy of my favorite book, a small jar with alcohol (for insects!), gifts from my friends, and a few rocks. I recently added a frisbee to the list!

31 What is your favorite animal?

Two birds: Hyacinth macaw and Andean cock-of-the-rock

32 What is your favorite book?

I only know that it’s among Fernando Vallejo novels

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Nothing better than a good Sancocho trifasico con unas arepitas. I’m sorry – I miss Colombian food so badly! Maybe hot chocolate with fresh cheese…? I have to add Palak paneer to the list!

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

April 27th – my mom’s bd!

35 What is your favorite plant?

Leaving aside Lulo, I’d have to choose between any Aristolochia or Passiflora

36 What is your favorite science fact?


37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Coconut and many Indian spices are on the top of my list!

39 What is your favorite sound?

The sound of a Timbal or the (almost imperceptible) but necessary Clave!

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?


41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

I’m actually between parangaricutirimicuaro and checheres (but actually any word with “ch”)

42 What is your proudest moment?

Paso again!

43 What kind of tree would you be?

I’m between a Ficus and a Samanea!

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

Sunsets are just something out of this world – c r a z y. Also, I absolutely love all my friends in town!

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I almost failed two whole school years while in high school 😀 I was very much into having fun only!

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Please guys! @datadizz @jhancsalazar (twitter)