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INSIDE NATURE’S GIANTS: Big Cats

Airs Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: The scientists prepare to dissect a lion and tiger at London's Royal Veterinary College. From the outside, a lion and tiger look very different, but once their skins are removed, even the experts find it hard to tell them apart.

A team of experts dissect the largest animals on the planet to uncover their evolutionary secrets in INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS. In each episode, veterinary scientist Mark Evans, comparative anatomist Joy Reidenberg, biologist Simon Watt and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins explore the anatomy of a distinct giant predator to reveal how it works.

Comparative anatomist Joy Reidenberg.
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Above: Comparative anatomist Joy Reidenberg.

"Big Cats" - The experts dissect a lion and a tiger. From the outside, the two look very different, but once their skins are removed, even the experts find it hard to tell them apart. Biologist Simon Watt comes face to face with a liger — a cross between a lion and a tiger — proof of the two species’ similarity.

One of the most characteristic features of these magnificent animals — something that distinguishes them from the small cats — is their ability to roar. The team delves into the lion’s throat to find the voicebox and makes a discovery that helps explain the way the vocal apparatus works.

Richard Dawkins explains the evolutionary arms race between predators and their prey in the struggle to survive. Finally, the experts try to find out why male lions have a distinctive mane.

This series originally aired in 2011.

Dr. Joy Reidenberg is on Facebook. Mark Evans is on Facebook, and you can follow @MarkEvansTV on Twitter.

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Full Episode: INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS: Big Cats

Above: In this episode of INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS, the experts dissect a lion and a tiger. From the outside, the two look very different, but once their skins are removed, even the experts find it hard to tell them apart. Biologist Simon Watt comes face to face with a liger — a cross between a lion and a tiger — proof of the two species’ similarity.

Video

Full Episode: INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS: Great White Shark

Above: In this episode of INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS, the experts travel to South Africa to dissect a 15-foot-long great white shark. Comparative anatomist Dr. Joy Reidenberg uncovers the amazing array of senses the shark possesses, including the ability to detect the electro-magnetic field given off by other creatures.

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Full Episode: INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS: Sperm Whale

Above: The team exposes the organs of a sperm whale that became stranded and died on Pegwell Bay in Kent, England to reveal the secrets of the 45-foot deep-sea giant. Premiered January 18, 2012 on KPBS TV

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Full Episode: INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS: Monster Python

Above: The INSIDE NATURE's GIANTS team ventures into the swamps of the Florida Everglades in search of the giant Burmese python. Premiered January 25, 2012 on KPBS TV.

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Full Episode: INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS: Giant Squid

Above: In this episode of INSIDE NATURE’S GIANTS, the team travels to New Zealand to examine one of the biggest yet most mysterious animals on Earth — the giant squid. Delving into its three hearts, razor sharp beak, tooth-covered tentacles and bizarre reproductive system, the team explores the anatomy of a deep-sea alien that’s never been observed in the wild.

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Full Episode: INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS: Camel

Above: In this episode of INSIDE NATURE'S GIANTS, Mark Evans and Dr. Joy Reidenberg brave the Australian Outback to dissect a camel, the ultimate desert survivor.