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Arts & Culture

ANIMAL IQ

ANIMAL IQ title graphic
Courtesy of Trace Elements Media
ANIMAL IQ title graphic

Now streaming on YouTube and the PBS Video App

Discover the True Intelligence of Animals with ANIMAL IQ, a New Series from PBS Digital Studios and NATURE

Do elephants really never forget? Are foxes actually that sly? Just how clever is your dog? ANIMAL IQ helps finally answer the question: how smart are Earth’s animals?

The series premieres on PBS Digital Studios’ science and nature-focused YouTube channel, “Terra.” It will feature eight episodes, premiering every three weeks on Terra. Episodes will also be available to watch on pbs.org/animaliq and the PBS Video App.

In each episode, hosts Trace Dominguez (UNO DOS OF TRACE, PBS STAR GAZERS) and Natalia Borrego (NATURE's "The Mighty Weasel" and "Super Cats") ask the experts, do the research and measure the smarts of species on an Intelligence Rubric to determine if other animals can truly think.

And if so, just how intelligent are they? Do all animals map their environment and defend their territory? Can they recognize themselves? Do they cooperate? Socialize? Have self-control? Understand death? Feel empathy?

“There are many unanswered questions about the intelligence of the animal kingdom, and we’re excited to partner with PBS Digital Studios to uncover these mysteries,” said Danielle Steinberg, Digital Lead for NATURE. “Natalia Borrego and Trace Dominguez help expand our own intelligence when it comes to understanding animal smarts – and they do so in an incredibly fun and easy-to-understand way.”

This is ANIMAL IQ!

EPISODE GUIDE:

Episode 1: "How Intelligent are Dogs, Really?" - The humble dog has been adapting and evolving alongside humanity since before we learned agriculture and how to make our own tools. This long history means dogs are incredible at human-canine interaction but is there a downside to this all human-focused adaptation? Hosts Natalia Borrego and Trace Dominguez talk to Laurie Santos, Director of the Yale Cognition Center, to find out.

Episode 2: "Foxes: Dog Hardware, Cat Software" - Foxes are described as “dog hardware running cat software.” These animals are incredible problem solvers, build extremely detailed mental maps of their environment, and can recognize individuals. Over the last 70 years, some foxes were selectively bred to be friendly to humans, and these descendants behave completely differently than their wild counterparts. What can we learn about IQ from them?

Episode 3, “Penguins: Are as Smart as They Are Cute” premieres Thursday, April 8 - Penguins are cute and beloved characters, but are these popular birds as smart as they are well dressed?

Baby Penguins: Master Navigators?! | Animal IQ

Episode 4: "Elephants: Do Giant Brains Mean More Smarts?" - Elephants are one of the most majestic and beloved megafaunas on our planet, but are they as intelligent as they’re portrayed in books, movies, and television?

Elephants: Do Giant Brains Mean More Smarts? | Animal IQ

Episode 5: This Rat Can Drive a Car?! | Animal IQ - Rats are study subjects, ecosystem scavengers, experimental analogs for human beings, and safe drivers…?

This Rat Can Drive a Car?! | Animal IQ

More episodes to come! Subsequent episodes will focus on the intelligence of otters, lions and dolphins!

Join The Conversation:

NATURE is on Facebook, and you can follow @PBSNature on Twitter. #NaturePBS

PBS Digital Studios is on Facebook and Instagram.

More About The Hosts:

Natalia Borrego, Ph.D., is a wildlife biologist, researcher and educator. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Miami and has spent more than a decade studying the behavior of large carnivores in the African wilderness and at zoological institutions. She is most well known for her studies on big cat cognition and was the first scientist to experimentally investigate cognition in African lions, tigers and leopards. Borrego values making science accessible to non-scientists: she appears in several wildlife documentaries and her work has been covered in publications such as Science Magazine and Scientific American. Borrego is a postdoctoral researcher with the University of Minnesota’s Lion Center and a teaching fellow at American University in Cairo. She was recently awarded the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior’s Collaborative Research Grant and will join the Institute’s Department for the Ecology of Animal Societies as a postdoc. Follow Natalia on Instagram

Trace Dominguez is a curiosity explorer, science communicator, Emmy-nominated on-camera host, producer and podcaster. He is the producer and host of PBS STAR GAZERS, the world’s only weekly television series on naked eye astronomy. He also creates UNO DOS OF TRACE, a video series exploring diverse topics across the sciences on YouTube, and founded, wrote, hosted and produced one of the first daily science shows online: SEEKER. He has appeared in programming across the Discovery and Science channels, NowThis, and Animal Planet. Dominguez has a B.S. in Psychology from Western Michigan University and an M.A. in Strategic Communication from American University. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Flavia and their cats, Carmela and Barley. Follow Trace on Instagram and Facebook.

Credits:

Executives in Charge for PBS Digital Studios: Brandon Arolfo, Adam Dylewski. Assistant Director of Programming, PBS Digital Studios: Niki Walker. Digital Lead, NATURE: Danielle Steinberg. Produced for PBS by Trace Elements Media. Senior Producer and Writer: Trace Dominguez. Producers: Lauren Ellis, Adam Milt. Editor: Amanda Deisler. Designers: Therese Mcpherson, Ricardo Burneo. Researcher: Hannah Thomasy.