30 Animals That Made Us Smarter

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What to expect

Season 1 of the hugely successful BBC radio series about the natural world and the awesome ways it has inspired us.

Over billions of years, animals have evolved and adapted, learning through trial and error the best strategies for surviving and thriving. So who better to help us humans when it comes to solving our own challenges? In this fascinating series, biologist and wildlife filmmaker Patrick Aryee tells the incredible stories of some remarkable animals, and the surprising ways they have enabled us to make technological and scientific breakthroughs.

From the kingfisher whose beak led to a redesign of the bullet train, to the spider’s web that may help us detect the earth’s vibrations and turn them into electricity, the animals in these 30 episodes all have extraordinary abilities that could revolutionise our world. There’s the bloodsucking mosquito whose mouthparts might hold the key to a future of painless injections; the woodpecker whose hard head has given us ideas for better bicycle helmets and black box recorders; the shark whose scaly skin could show us how to fight superbugs, the tenacious mussel that could make risky foetal surgery safer and save lives – and many more.

And in the final, live show, we dig deeper into the world of biomimicry, and hear from listeners about other creatures who could spark innovation – including scorpions, tarantulas and hibernating bears…

Full of brilliant, bingeable tales and astonishing revelations, this mind-blowing natural history series will thrill animal lovers, science fans and anyone who’s curious about our wonderful natural world.

Production credits
Presented by Patrick Aryee
Series producer: Sarah Blunt
Produced by Amelia Butterly
Live show produced by Mark Ward
Series and live show editor: James Cook
Music and sound design by Dan Pollard
Sound recordist: Chris Watson

First broadcast on the BBC World Service on the following dates:

Track List
Kingfisher and bullet train 25 March 2019
Octopus and camouflage 1 April 2019
Mosquito and surgical needle 8 April 2019
Woodpecker and black box 15 April 2019
Bat and visual aid 22 April 2019
Tardigrade and vaccine transport 29 April 2019
Firefly and lightbulb 6 May 2019
Mussel and plywood 13 May 2019
Termite and ventilation system 20 May 2019
Cod and antifreeze 27 May 2019
Desert spider and Mars robot 3 June 2019
Sea otter and wetsuit 10 June 2019
Stenocara beetle and water collector 17 June 2019
Albatross and drone 24 June 2019
Shark and hospital surfaces 1 July 2019
Spider and rescue robot 8 July 2019
Gecko and adhesives 15 July 2019
Whale and wind turbine 22 July 2019
Spider and window glass 29 July 2019
Bat and unassisted flight 5 August 2019
Bombardier beetle and fuel injection 12 August 2019
Fish schools and windfarm 19 August 2019
Bat and robot 26 August 2019
Dolphin and tsunami detector 2 September 2019
Butterfly and butterfly house 9 September 2019
Mussel and foetal surgery 16 September 2019
Ant and networks 23 September 2019
Peacock and computer screen 30 September 2019
Butterfly and paints 7 October 2019
Spider and remote sensing 14 October 2019
30 Animals LIVE 21 October 2019

©2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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