We have all gazed into our dog’s eyes and wondered: What is he thinking about? What does he think about the world around him? How much of the world is he aware of?
In an amazing new three-hour special, “Inside Animal Minds,” NOVA explores breakthroughs in animal cognition through an in-depth view of dogs, birds, and dolphin. The program, which premieres tomorrow, will be shown on three consecutive Wednesday nights: April 9, 16, and 23, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on PBS.
In this unique look at the animal minds, NOVA checks in with researchers around the globe who are pushing the limits to help uncover the surprising similarities and differences between animal and human minds.
Viewers will get an in-depth look at the spectacular noses of dogs and wolves while discovering how their reliance on different senses has shaped their evolution. The program also examines the eyes of a birds and explores the secrets of animal communication through dolphins aiming to answer important questions of animal intelligence such as: Is their behavior innate—or do some have the ability to reason? How do they do it? Is it the size of their brains? Or the way they live?
“For centuries, we’ve had a tendency to dismiss animals as creatures without a real understanding of what they were doing, and an assumption that only we humans had the ability to create tools, understand cause and effect, and imagine what the future could be like,” says Paula S. Apsell, Senior Executive Producer for NOVA. “The truth unveiled in “Inside the Animal Minds” is that animals minds are far more complicated. NOVA provides fascinating insight into the minds of some of the smartest animals on the planet, their ability to solve problems, and how evolutionary forces may have shaped their brains and behavior. ”
The special is broken into three parts:
Bird Genius (April 9, 2014 at 9 p.m. ET/PT)
NOVA tests the limits of some of the planet’s brainiest animals, searching for the secrets of a problem-solving mind.
Dogs and Super Senses (April 16, 2014 at 9 p.m. ET/PT)
NOVA goes into the minds of animals to “see” the world in an entirely new way. From a dog who seems to use smell to tell time, to a dolphin who can “see” with his ears, viewers will discover how animals use their senses in ways we humans can barely imagine.
Who’s the Smartest (April 23, 2014 at 9 p.m. ET/PT)
What makes an animal smart? Researchers explore the secrets that lie in relationships and social groups to answer a variety of complex questions. Could the skills required to keep track of friend and foe make animals smarter? Do chimps have a sense of fairness? And are any animals beside humans capable of feeling empathy?