Smarty Plants • 2012 • episode "S51E17" The Nature of Things

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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.

The Nature of Things • 2008 - 2021 • 15 episodes •

The Secret Life of Owls

We all recognize the trademark hoots of the great horned owl. But how many of us have seen one up close? The great horned owl lives all over the Americas, from rural countryside to bustling cityscapes. Yet it’s rare to catch a glimpse of this elusive bird of prey. The Secret Life of Owls gives us a window into the life of this amazing species and introduces us to some passionate owl experts along the way. Through The Secret Life Of Owls, we will witness the power and wonder behind one of nature’s most fierce and formidable hunters.

2017 • Nature

Myth or Science

Drinking alcohol on a cold day warms you up. Eating grilled meat can increase your risk of cancer. Mosquitoes prefer blondes… ah, women. We've all heard the claims, but are they true? From Winnipeg to Florida, from New York City to Vancouver, B.C, molecular biologist Dr. Jennifer Gardy goes in search of the answers. It's a journey through seldom-seen research that forces Dr. Gardy to become a real-life guinea pig to test these claims and discover, once and for all, whether they're science fact or science fiction. The surprising results are revealed in Myth or Science. , results that could change your life. Most of us just accept these myths as fact. But it is surprising to discover which are true and which aren't. It's not what you expect. And the answers can make a major difference to your daily life, and your health.

2011 • Science

Where Am I

Where Am I? Is a new documentary about the skills we use to find our way around. Whether you are an Inuit hunter, a foraging insect, or just someone out for a stroll, your brain is performing one of its most fundamental services – it’s navigating. Why are some of us good at finding our way, while others are not? Good navigators are able to use both memory and imagination…remembering where they have been, and imagining where they’re going. Some researchers believe we build a cognitive or mental map when we navigate, a kind of bird’s eye view of our surroundings, a view that can be rotated and examined in our mind. There has been about sixty years of argument amongst scientists about whether humans and other mammals actually form these cognitive maps or not. The advent of GPS or Global Positioning Systems has changed the discussion about navigation. GPS triggers a simpler, more automatic navigational technique that does not involve building a mental map. With GPS, we simply respond to directions and may not truly understand where we are.

2013 • Physics

Smarty Plants

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

The Allergy Fix

If you’ve been to a children’s birthday party lately, chances are at least one of the little guests had a portable needle loaded with epinephrine. Its standard equipment for a growing generation of highly allergic kids: more than three times as many children have food allergies now than twenty years ago. And one out of every three children is now allergic to foods, animals, or plants. Something puzzling, and frightening, is going on with our immune systems. The Allergy Fix travels across Canada and to the US, the UK and Germany to investigate why allergies are on the rise – and what’s being done about it.

2014 • Health

Meet the Coywolf

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

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

Chasing Snowflakes

We have a relationship with few things in nature the way we do with snow: we hate it, we love it, and we think we understand it. But we barely know the contradictory and beautiful components of snow’s character. But that’s something scientists are changing. From the formation of single flakes to the howling 70 km/h winds of lake effect snow storms to the destructive power of avalanches, intrepid researchers are bringing snow science into the 21st Century.

2014 • Science

Raccoon Nation

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

Return of the Prairie Bandit

Their habitat once stretched across the Prairies, but when humans wiped out the one thing they eat, the black-footed ferret disappeared. The only native North American ferret, this mysterious animal became the most endangered species in the world. For many years, they survived only in zoos. Now a fledgling project is attempting to bring the black-footed ferret back to Saskatchewan. This dramatic story of the ferrets’ reintroduction to the wild unfolds in Return of the Prairie Bandit, a new documentary by Kenton Vaughan set in the stunning prairie of southern Saskatchewan.

2011 • Nature

The Emperor's Lost Harbour

In the heart of a metropolitan city of 15 million people and among the construction of a new billion-dollar transportation network, an archaeological sensation has been discovered: the ancient harbour of Theodosious. Theodosious was the last ruler over both Eastern and Western portions of a unified Roman Empire; the harbour has been buried and shrouded in mystery for over 800 years…until now. Istanbul, Turkey, is situated exactly between Europe and Asia. It has, since prehistoric times, bridged the gap between these continents, their cultures and its people. Engineers are working to connect East to West through a spectacular 1.4 kilometer railway tunnel, 60 meters below the surface, but they've been stalled by the discovery of the Emperor's Lost Harbor.

2011 • History

Great Vaccine Race

The inside story of the high-stakes race to defeat a killer virus and save millions of lives.

2021 • Health

Nature's Big Year

When humanity hits pause, nature reboots; scientists discover the surprising ways pandemic lock downs affected our planet.

2021 • Environment

The New Human

The New Human takes the audience on a whirlwind tour into the minds of experts who remind us that our bodies are always changing in reaction to the world around us. What’s in store for us may be beyond anything we ever imagined.

2021 • Nature

The Great Wild Indoors

Within the quiet confines of your home, wild things are afoot. The great struggle to survive, the drama of life and death, the cold calculation of the hunter and the anxiety of the hunted and it goes on all around you. In the Great Indoors, every corner is a potential lair, every carpet a dense forest, and the wide spaces of your kitchen, an open savannah where the food is abundant, but so is the danger. A number of creatures fly in and get trapped; others may enter to dine and dash, but some will be found nowhere else but safe and sound at home in your home. So when you trap that house spider and decide to set it free outside, you may in fact be dooming it to death in a world it's never known.

2017 • Nature

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In nature, living long enough to breed is a monumental struggle. Many animals and plants go to extremes to give themselves a chance. Uniquely, three brother cheetahs band together to bring down a huge ostrich. Aerial photography reveals how bottle-nosed dolphins trap fish in a ring of mud, and time-lapse cameras show how the Venus flytrap ensnares insect victims. The strawberry frog carries a tadpole high into a tree and drops it in a water-filled bromeliad. The frog must climb back from the ground every day to feed it. Fledgling chinstrap penguins undertake a heroic and tragic journey through the broken ice to get out to sea. Many can barely swim and the formidable leopard seal lies in wait.

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The Lost World of the Pacific

The same submarine which successfully captured the world’s first moving images of a giant squid in its natural habitat is used for exploring the deep sea cliffs off the coast of New Guinea. The team encounters true living fossil species one after another. Join this exciting deep sea adventure!

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The Word

Sophie looks at one skill in particular that seems to give humans an advantage over all other animals - our superior talent for language. She explores what language really is, and how close other animals come to having it. She considers the world of primates and the theory that some apes may communicate through sign language, and reveals how, even in the womb, humans start to practise making the mouth movements needed for speech. But language isn't just a power to combine words. Professor Scott explores how we convey information through the tone of voice, our accents and the pace and pitch of our speech. But in a world when we regularly talk to computers, she also shows why scientists need to develop machines that can understand the subtleties of our speech. Finally, she looks at language in this digital age and explores the role that emojis play.

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