NOVA scienceNOW: How Smart Are Animals?
Airs Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV
Monday, February 7, 2011
In every episode of "NOVA scienceNOW," host Neil deGrasse Tyson signs off by taking a broad look at things. Here, you can watch and comment on these videos.
Would you care to match wits with a dog, an octopus, a dolphin, or a parrot? You may think twice after watching the segments in this "NOVA scienceNOW" episode. While we may not be ready to send pets to Harvard, the remarkable footage and findings presented here demonstrate that many animal species are much smarter than we assume and in ways we had never imagined.
New discoveries are revealing that "man's best friend" is smarter than we ever thought, with a brain that resembles our own in ways we never imagined. Travel to Wolf Park, where scientists are tracing the evolutionary path that turned wild animals into our cuddly companions, and meet a superdog with a vocabulary of over 1,000 words.
An unlikely scientific team, Irene Pepperberg and her talking parrot, Alex, revolutionized scientists' ideas about animal communication and intelligence. Yet even after Alex's premature death, Pepperberg still struggles to convince some critics that Alex's accomplishments—counting, reasoning, identifying shapes and colors—are more than mere party tricks.