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NATURE: The Beauty Of Ugly

Airs Sunday, June 26, 2011 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: "Nature" gets up close with perhaps the ugliest mammal in all of Africa, the warthog.

In the animal world, as in our own, looks aren’t everything. In fact, some of the most aesthetically challenged creatures — from warthogs and proboscis monkeys to bull elephant seals — are also the most fascinating. A stunning variety of these ghastly yet glorious forms are explored in "NATURE: The Beauty of Ugly."

On the Web site for "The Beauty of Ugly," you’ll get an in-depth look at some of these intriguing creatures. You’ll learn about the remarkable sensory abilities of the weird little star-nosed mole and the unusual social system of naked mole-rats and their imperious mole-rat queen, discover the threats faced by the Cape Griffon vulture, and get a fish-eye’s view of the needle-toothed viperfish and other deep-sea creatures, as photographed by a unique undersea camera called the Eye-in-the-Sea, designed by ocean researcher Dr. Edith Widder. You can also watch the full episode online.

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Preview: Nature: The Beauty Of Ugly

Above: Check out some fascinating animals with faces only a mother could love. NATURE travels the world for close encounters with repellant pigs, beastly birds, frightful fish and other repulsive creatures in "The Beauty Of Ugly."

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The Beauty Of Ugly: A Twenty-two Tentacled Nose

Above: At only 4 to 5 inches long, the star-nosed mole has one of the strangest noses in nature. Its 22 fleshy tentacles are super-sensitive to touch. The star-nosed mole hunts worms and insects, and its specialized nose allows it to capture and eat its prey 14 times faster than any other mole.

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Excerpt: Nature: The Beauty Of Ugly

Above: "Nature: The Beauty of Ugly" gets up close with perhaps the ugliest mammal in all of Africa, the warthog. The globetrotting ugly pageant reveals the vital functions behind the vile features of vultures, bats, tapeworms, and many others.

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