Next Episode of NOVA is
Season 47 / Episode 4 and airs on 27 February 2020 02:00
NOVA brings you stories from the frontlines of science and engineering, answering the big questions of today and tomorrow, from how our ancestors lived, to whether parallel universes exist, to how technology will transform our lives.
How do you study giant armadillos when hardly anyone has ever seen one? Or figure out if a whale is losing weight—without getting too close? Camera trap and drone technologies are allowing scientists to watch animals more closely than ever before, without disturbing them. Scientists in India are using thousands of camera trap photos to track tigers' movements. In Canada, caribou outfitted with collar cams show conservationists which habitats they rely on throughout the winter. Capturing everything from the unexpected to the comical, these technologies are giving wildlife managers insights that could ultimately help them fight extinction and habitat loss.
In this two-hour special, renowned paleontologist Kirk Johnson takes us on an epic adventure through time at the polar extremes of our planet. Following a trail of strange fossils found in all the wrong places—beech trees in Antarctica, hippo-like mammals in the Arctic—Johnson uncovers the bizarre history of the poles, from miles-high ice sheets to warm polar forests teeming with life. What caused such dramatic changes at the ends of the Earth? And what can the past reveal about our planet's climate today—and in the future?
Dogs have long been dependable companions by our sides. But it wasn't always that way, and a look at their closest living relative, the wolf, makes it clear why. Research into dog domestication and intelligence offers clues into what the human-dog relationship is all about. And analyzing dogs' brain activity and genes may even help answer the question of whether dogs are in it for the food—or if they really love us.
Worshipped as a goddess, condemned as satanic, and spun into a stunning array of breeds, cats have long fascinated humans. But did we ever really domesticate them? And what can science tell us about our most mysterious companions?
From fruit flies to whales, virtually every animal sleeps. But why? Why do we need to spend nearly a third of our lives in such a defenseless state? Scientists are peering more deeply into the sleeping brain than ever before, discovering just how powerful sleep can be, playing a role in everything from memory retention and emotional regulation to removing waste from our brains. So why are we getting so little of it?
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