Wednesday, July 6 at 9:00 p.m.
At a research site in Fongoli, Senegal, a female chimpanzee breaks off a branch, chews the end to make it sharp, then uses this rudimentary spear to skewer a tasty bush baby hiding inside a hollow tree. Captured in exclusive video, it is the first time anyone has documented a chimpanzee wielding a carefully prepared, preplanned weapon, and it is a tantalizing glimpse into the depths of ape intelligence. But it’s only the latest in a slew of extraordinary new findings about ape behavior. The more researchers learn about the great apes — chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans — the more evidence they see of creative intellect. What, then, is the essential difference between us and them?
Wednesday, July 13 at 9:00 p.m.
Kings of Camouflage
Despite its name, the cuttlefish is not a fish but a cousin of the more familiar octopus and squid. Together, they are a part of the class of marine mollusks called cephalopods, or “headfooters.” These are soft-bodied animals without a protective outer shell or spine. Cuttlefish intrigue researchers with their splendid displays, their intelligence and social behavior. Of all the invertebrates, they have one of the highest brain-to-body ratios. In “Kings of Camouflage,” Dr. Jean Boal of Millersville University in Pennsylvania shows viewers how well and how fast cuttlefish can learn. She creates a special maze to assess their ability to figure out the right escape route. Not only can they learn the rules of finding the open exit, they can repeat their success trial after trial.
Wednesday, July 20 at 9:00 p.m.
The Great Inca Rebellion
The largest empire in pre-Columbian America, the Inca ruled the most advanced civilization in the New World. By the time the Spanish arrived, the Inca had built the breathtaking city of Machu Picchu, pioneered a sophisticated system of high-altitude highways and forged luxurious treasures of gold. So how could a tiny Spanish army of gold-seeking adventurers bring the powerful Inca Empire, home to over 10 million people, so quickly to its knees? Some scientists have discovered that perhaps the Spanish had been plotting an Incan demise for several years.
Wednesday, July 27 at 9:00 p.m.
Visit the web site at www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova
How is it that dinosaurs managed to survive and even thrive in the gloom of the dark and frigid polar regions? This is one of today's most intriguing, little-known enigmas in paleontology. Now, a unique field expedition, covered exclusively by NOVA, will set out for Alaska's North Slope to defrost a jackpot of new fossil clues. With the help of stunning CGI, NOVA will breathe life into the polar dinosaurs' lives and environment in vivid detail. The team of researchers will combine extreme engineering and perilous fossil hunting, including digging a tunnel into the permafrost in order to collect the dinosaur bones. With Alaska's spectacular wilderness as a backdrop, this program will reveal a prehistoric world hidden from view for millions of years until now.