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Nova Science Now: How Smart Are Animals (2011)

 NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

List Price: $24.99
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Nova Science Now: How Smart Are Animals + Nova Sciencenow: What Are Animals Thinking + Nova: Inside Animal Minds
Price for all three: $52.50

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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: March 22, 2011
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004D7SB3E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,608 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Host Neil deGrasse Tyson will tackle one of science's major challenges in each episode, framed as a simple question that ordinary people wonder and worry about. Neil will guide us as he explores dramatic discoveries and the frontiers of research that connect each central, provocative mystery.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Einsteins of the wild April 14, 2011
The work explores why some animals can do things that human toddlers or children can do. I'm having a bit of deja vu because I swear I've seen a program similar to this. Of course, they explore dolphins and dogs, but to a lesser extent monkeys, surprisingly. What's great is that the work explores non-mammals as well. It speaks of octopusses, parrots, inter alia.

The work tries hard to differentiate between rote learning and actual problem-solving. It showed how dogs understand the meaning of humans' pointing, but monkeys do not. It speaks of those animals that can recognize themselves in a mirror. I'm still stumped at some of the things they call smartness. They show an octopus camoflaging itself and ask, "Gee! Isn't it so smart?" Well, it worked with what it had. If I had wings, I'd fly. If I had a long neck, I'd try to eat fruits or leaves from the tops of trees. It does point to the large brain size, but sometimes there seems to be holes in their argument.

The work concludes by showing a female researcher who spent 30 years studying one smart parrot. The work admits that she needed many grants and got few of them. However, I don't understand how one person could work with such a small sample. I think universities like studies that are repeatable with the chance to generalize. Yes, she picked this parrot out of the blue, but it still could have been Parrot Einstein. Her method(s) didn't seem topknotch to me.

If you like this documentary, you should surely see "Ape Genius."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive - June 10, 2012
The program examined the abilities of dogs, dolphins, octopus, and Alex the parrot. Dogs are more responsive to human cues than than apes, and more tolerant of humans than wolves. The program showed a dog that, when commanded to find something never taught before, could infer what that was on the basis of eliminating all the items it already knew. Dolphins were shown to be able to create a new trick when so directed. Octopus can problem solve - eg. figure out which way to unscrew a lid, how to do camouflage, and think of using a shell as something to hide in.

Alex the parrot lived half a normal life of 60 years. He could count up to eight, distinguish between colors, shapes and objects, identify what was different, the same, or bigger, knew 100+ words.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My kids love this video March 18, 2014
Verified Purchase
My daughter, 8 and my son, 11 love this video. It discusses dolphins, african grey parrots and sheep herding dogs, and was a very worthwhile purchase.
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