For thousands of years, we’ve regarded sleep as nothing more than an annihilation of consciousness. But there is one compelling fact that has always stood in the way of that view. “Even the Greek philosophers wondered why we needed to sleep,” says neuroscientist, Dr. Kenneth Wright. “If sleep wasn’t important, it’s probably one of the most significant mistakes that evolution ever made.” Yet decades of intense research have failed to discover the key function of sleep. But now, thanks to revolutionary new technology, innovative animal research and extraordinary advances in genetics, all that’s about to change. Join Dr. Jennifer Gardy as she goes on an extraordinary odyssey from a city that never sleeps to an isolation chamber in the Colorado Rockies, from one of the most unique research centres in the world to the world of dreams. Her goal is simple: Discover why we sleep
2016 • Health
Untangling Alzheimer's is a dramatic and inspiring medical investigation driven by David Suzuki's journey to understand the science of Alzheimer's and the surprising new insights into its cause. David has a very personal interest in the disease because his mother, aunt and two uncles died of it. We join David on an intimate journey as he explores the newest breakthroughs in this devastating disease as well as his own chances of contracting the cruel condition. Alzheimer's today is the only leading cause of death that cannot be cured, prevented or even slowed. Worse, it's the only leading cause of death that is on the rise – and not simply because baby-boomers are getting older. Studies show that the increase is absolute across all age groups, and death rates continue to climb. With a new case developing every 69 seconds, scientists now speak of the Alzheimer's epidemic.
2013 • Astronomy
Is it possible that plants are smarter than we think? They are among the world's oldest and most successful organisms and represent some of the strangest and longest living life forms on the planet. Stunningly diverse, plants have served us in many critical ways, from providing food, shelter and clothing to life-saving medicine. And yet we know very little about them. A luscious exploration of the natural world, Smarty Plants effortlessly integrates pioneering science with a light hearted look at how plants behave, revealing a world where plants are as busy, responsive and complex as we are. From the stunning heights of Utah's Great Basin Desert to the rainforests of Canada's west coast, Smarty Plants follows lead scientist and ecologist JC Cahill as he treks the green world and discovers that plants are a lot more like animals than we ever imagined. The world he reveals is one where plants eavesdrop on each other, talk to their enemies, call in insect allies to fight those enemies, recognize their relatives and nurture their young.
2012 • Nature
We like to believe we’re in control. But if what we’re discovering about parasites is anything to go by, who is really in control is a lot more complicated, and a lot more interesting, than we ever imagined. So let “The Nature of Things with David Suzuki” help you get over the ick factor, and explore the world of parasites. So let “The Nature of Things with David Suzuki” help you get over the ick factor, and explore the world of parasites. Scientists have collected hundreds of examples of parasites that brainwash their hosts. And now researchers are starting to untangle these parasites’ evolutionary tricks of the trade. In the coastal estuaries of California, Professor Kevin Lafferty of the United States Geological Survey introduces us to a flatworm that lives in three hosts - a snail, a fish and a bird. This parasite’s influence is so profound that it tips the balance of the local ecosystem
2013 • Brain
This episode focuses on the Asia-Pacific side of The Pacific Rim of Fire, which stands as a living testament to the beauty and danger that powerful geologic forces can deliver. The Pacific Rim is home to half of the world's active volcanoes and ninety percent of the world's earthquakes, yet nearly 800 million people continue to live within its violent edge. Our journey begins in New Zealand, a land of volcanoes and earthquakes, where we find a 500-kilometre long slip-strike fault deep under the Pacific Ocean. Geologist Hamish Campbell will take us to the crater of White Island, the country’s most active volcano. Then we'll visit the country's southern island with John Youngson, to find out how New Zealand’s longest fault-line contributes to the gold industry. Finally in Japan, viewers will hike up to Mount Fuji – the iconic peak where science and legend converge, getting up-close and personal with a fault-line witnessing firsthand what it’s like to discover new ways of monitoring, and hopefully one day predicting, seismic activity onboard the world’s most advanced drilling vessels.
2010 • Environment
Part wolf, part coyote this new hybrid species is the subject of a startlingly beautiful new film called Meet the Coywolf. A documentary that will both shock and amaze you. Coywolves emerged from a thin strip of land at the southern end of Algonquin Park less than a hundred years ago. Their arrival on the scene marks a rare event, the creation of a brand new hybrid species. A formidable wild animal that has spread across North America at an unprecedented pace, returning a new top predator to territories once roamed by wolves. Zoologist Roland Kays of the New York State Museum has been tracking these new creatures and describes them as having "a coyote like skull with wolf like teeth".
2013 • Nature
A Dog’s Life reveals how our best friends perceive the world - from the moment they take their first morning walk to the time they curl up at our feet to go to sleep. We accompany Daisy, a Jack Russell Terrier, through an average day and on the way discover that, while dogs are not miniature humans, they are amazingly well adapted to life with us. But how well do we know them? A Dog’s Life explores the widely assumed facts that may actually be based on faulty and out-dated research. Is your dog really like a wolf? Does she need you to be the “alpha” dog, so she knows where to fit into your pack? Do they really see in black and white? Is it true that dogs have an amazing sense of direction?
2013 • Nature
The leatherback sea turtle is a magnificent creature that can be found in Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. This ancient species swims faster, travels further, and dives deeper than any other reptile on the planet. In the Atlantic, they migrate every year from their nesting grounds in the Caribbean to the chilly waters off the east coast of Canada where they feast on jellyfish. This epic annual journey – at a staggering 12,000 km – is the longest for any reptile in the world.
2014 • Nature
In Episode 1: A Changing World, we see the changes that are upsetting the scientific predictions of the impact of climate change on the Arctic. Now, one sobering forecast is that the Arctic Ocean will be seasonally ice free by the summer of 2013. This possibility is what drives environmentalists to identify ways to minimize the changes affecting this snowy land. But for prospectors like Gordon McCreary, climate change brings new opportunities. He is part of the rush to claim the riches beneath the Arctic's ice: deposits of metals, gold, diamonds, and oil and gas.
2009 • Environment
In an effort to outwit raccoons, are we pushing their brain development and perhaps even sending them down a new evolutionary path? Using high-definition, infrared cameras that turn pitch dark into daylight; we take viewers deep inside a world that was once shrouded in mystery – to gain new insights and understanding about a species that is far more elusive and wily than most people ever imagined. “There is a lot we don’t know, and the more we’ve looked at raccoons, the harder they are to understand.” — Stan Gehrt, Wildlife Biologist & Internationally recognized raccoon expert
2011 • Nature
Stonehenge is an icon of prehistoric Britain, an enigma that has seduced archaeologists and tourists for centuries. Why is it here? What is its significance? And which forces inspired its creators? For the last four years, an international team has surveyed and mapped every monument, both visible and invisible, across 10 square kilometres of the sacred landscape to create a complete digital picture of Stonehenge and the surrounding area through time. Known monuments have yielded more data than ever before, revealing hidden structures within; and new finds are revolutionising the history of Stonehenge.
2014 • History
The Cholesterol Question is a hard-hitting investigation into the heart of cholesterol’s controversial journey, from essential biological substance to Public Enemy Number One and possible rehab. It’s a villain that’s simple to understand, easy to implicate and, we thought, easy to medicate. But it’s a story almost stranger than fiction. At Stanford University, Dr. Christopher Gardner reveals the debatable science behind our assault on dietary fat and cholesterol – a massive intervention that many believe only made us fatter and sicker.
2014 • Health
For decades, scientists believed that humans were forced to wait until the end of the last Ice Age before they could enter the Americas. Evidence suggests that 11,000 years ago they crossed the Bering Land Bridge by foot, into what is now modern-day Alaska. Those peoples were called the Clovis, and their arrival and hunting practices were blamed for the sudden disappearance of many large mammals, from mastodons and woolly mammoths to giant ground sloths and sabre-toothed tigers. In recent years however, tantalizing – but often frustratingly inconclusive – evidence of an earlier human migration into the Americas has begun to emerge. It is an incredible revelation – to think that ancient humans could somehow have managed to get past a sheet of ice four kilometres thick. In this fascinating documentary, Canadian anthropologist and adventurer Niobe Thompson takes us inside the incredible scientific discoveries that are finally unraveling these mysteries
2011 • History
As the first animal to be domesticated, pigeons have a story to tell. A drama filled, steeped-in-history, amazing story. Although they’ve faded into the background of city life, pigeons have made an incredible contribution to human history. For centuries, we relied on them for everything from food, to vital communications, to entertainment to modern day brain science. They deserve more respect! The ones you see on city streets today are the descendants of domestic birds. Their gritty urban lives are spent trying to evade all manner of perils…and… stay one step ahead of starvation, a constant threat. To survive where they’re not wanted, pigeons rely on a combination of charity from a few and their own incredible smarts…. In a series of fascinating experiments and carefully placed cameras, we take you inside their perilous world; in the air, on the street and in the nest. One of the first things to notice is just how incredibly smart they are.
2014 • Nature
Losing a parent in the wild can be deadly for young animals, but these orphans got lucky when conservationists stepped in. Meet clouded leopard cub sisters taken in by the Nashville Zoo, a baby wombat raised in an artificial pouch at Tasmania's Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, and more.