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Nature: Crash - A Tale of Two Species

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Filmmaker Allison Argo (Chimpanzees: An Unnatural History) tells the fascinating story of nature's amazing ability to create fragile connections among the most unexpected creatures. Each year, the red knot, a small shorebird that winters on the southern tip of South America, embarks on a 10,000-mile journey to its nesting grounds in the Arctic. The pocket-sized long distance traveler instinctively times its migration precisely to coincide with the annual spawning of one of the Earth's most ancient creatures, the horseshoe crab in the Delaware Bay. The eggs of the horseshoe crab fuel the birds on one of the longest migrations on Earth. But humans have harvested the horseshoe crab for fishing bait, and use its blood for medical purposes. With the crabs now in decline, the red knot is in danger. This story is a compelling example of how every species is interconnected, and of our potential to destroy those connections -- or restore them.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Directors: Allison Argo
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Questar
  • DVD Release Date: August 19, 2008
  • Run Time: 55 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00195FUAA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,681 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Amazon: Nature: Crash: A Tale of Two Species [The "Red Knot" shorebird and the invertebrate Horseshoe "Crab"] 52 minute color DVD; Distributed by Questar, Inc. © 2008

A teacher can excerpt and set this story in a better science context. When two species are in a complex biological relationship, this can be mutually beneficial (mutualism), benefit one but not benefit or harm the other (commensalism), or benefit one and harm the other (parasitism and predation). This storyline suggests that both benefit from the bird-invertebrate relationship but the supposedly threatened one is the Red Knot; the horseshoe crab would likely increase without the egg predation by the birds.

Also unmentioned is that there are other Limulus (horseshoe crab) species in the Pacific. The avoidance of any scientific names or other science is unfortunately a hallmark of the more recent Nature Series. In this program, this is particularly egregious since there are many subspecies of this bird; others are distributed elsewhere in the world and feed on other invertebrates, not fitting this story. In addition, the species has not been found to merit listing on the IUCN red list. However, aside from the lack of biological overview and depth, this video is fairly free of non-science nonsense except for a brief comment on the birds beginning their migration "as if by magic." For the teacher who wishes to excerpt this for class, the following summary is provided with time stamps in brackets. There is a tempo to the film, switching back-and-forth between the bird and the invertebrate at each time stamp below. The narrator is also the filmmaker Allison Argo.

Introduction to the "horseshoe crab" life history includes that it is more related to spiders than to true crabs.
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You have got to watch this, it is unforgettable. Heartbreaking and real. Amazing. A lot of passion here, you'll shed a tear when you watch it if you love wildlife as I do, and respect those people who are out there researching this kind of thing. The passion they have and what they do make you cry. You'll fall in love with the red knot bird, and hope for it. You'll learn things about the horse shoe crab that you won't believe... do you know they make contact lenses from horse shoe crabs, and that they use their blue blood to help with (do I remember right?) our blood supply?
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This film is a much-needed wakeup call on many levels. It's not just about the birds (Red Knots), but more about the crash in the Horseshoe Crab population and what that means for us humans. As someone in the medical field, the crash in Horseshoe Crabs is disturbing because every injectable vaccine and medication is first tested for bacterial contamination with an extract of the crabs' blood. It's the only reliable test we have for this kind of bacterial contamination...if we lose the Horseshoe Crabs (and they are in serious decline) we lose the ability to test reliably for bacterial contamination of our injectable drugs.

The film is well-made - the "web" of Red Knot / Horseshoe Crab / Humans is well thought out and well-presented. By the time it's over, you will truly understand why scientists are so concerned about the decline in Red Knot and Horseshoe Crab populations. The film is also beautifully photographed and narrated. It doesn't focus on doom-and-gloom, but does give a frank and honest view of what is happening and why we should take action.
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I had been looking for this video as part of a educational program. I used to borrow it from my local library, but all local copies were damaged. I was able to purchase this for a fair price and get it in time for the program.
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I think there's a clich'e that says, "When a butterfly flaps its wings here, a thunderstorm starts in China." This documentary marvels at how a South American bird depends upon horseshoe crab eggs in the Carolinas. If you like ideas about interconnections and dependency, then you will enjoy this.
I guess I could mention the allegory of the cave while I'm at it. Fishers were innocently using female horseshoe crabs as bait for eels. Unfortunately, this has caused a South American bird to face extinction.
Sometimes it's hard to watch green documentaries because they are so sad and doomsday-ish. However, this one wasn't, TO AN EXTENT. Once leaders learned of the birds demise, they banned or limited fishers' use of horsecrabs and it seems that the fishers have complied. This is so different from companies that don't want to lower global warming. This is different from car companies that don't want to make their products fuel-efficient. I recently saw a documentary about the Everglades and it suggested that Floridians want green lawns much more than they want to see alligators and manatees survive. I am glad that no humans seem to be putting effort into seeing this South American bird die.
Having said that, this documentary does reach a sad conclusion. I can't call this a feel-good work. This may make you bitter and say, "Well, why try to stop a tragedy if it's too late?!"
The work fascinated me in how it revealed how individuals can know sooo much about critters. Fishers could just look at a crab and tell its gender whereas I didn't see breasts or long hair, so I didn't think female. A scientist could describe harmed body parts of the bird just by knowing its weight.
I was always taught that sociobiology was a bad thing.
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