In the third season of Bill Nye Saves the World, scientist-turned-television personality Bill Nye continues to make the science of daily life binge-able. In the final episode of season three, Nye asks the most important question one can possibly pose to modern man and woman. It’s a question that we are all dying to know the answer to: what is my pet thinking?!
I’m not going to keep you in suspense. Bill Nye does not say what our pets are thinking. Nye does, however, discuss a number of animals that display common human traits and explores what those commonalities say about the human brain.
Here’s what I learned about crows:
- Crows are capable of recognizing the faces of people that have been kind or cruel to them and have unique calls that indicate danger, joy, or even directions to other crows in the area.
- Crows will sometimes bring gifts for humans who feed them or that they form a bond with. Tradezies!
- Like the human brain, a crow’s amygdala helps it to remember fearful things and its hippocampus helps the species of bird to remember important associations (for instance, the presence of food or danger).
Nye points out that many species of animals, including dolphins, monkeys, elephants, and various other species display moral behaviors like altruism and grief, can experience depression in the form of anxiety, eating disorders, and general sadness, and are frequently seen forming and participating in communities.
Here’s what I learned about animals and magic:
- A piranha in an aquarium responds to magic, especially magic that involves goldfish right before feeding time.
- Two elephants have a definite react to the appearance of unexpected food in the form of a magic trick and it is absolutely pure and precious.
- Watching monkeys watch magic tricks could easily take over my life. They are suspicious, looking for answers, and outnumber the magician several times over. Watch this. It’s special.
Nye concludes that while the human brain separates itself from its fellow species through things like reason, art, and personal reflection, the gap between us and them – especially the smartest of them – isn’t large, and, considering the grand scale of evolution, could actually be quite small. Watch the monkeys watching magic. You’ll see. They totally know something is up, and they don’t like it.
There is a lot of other really cool information in this episode (like #billmeetssciencetwitter and when Joanna controls Nye’s arm with her brain – this really happens!), and the entire season is incredibly informative and fun to watch. Season three of Bill Nye Saves the World proves to be the worthy continuation of a long tradition of making science accessible to interested people wherever they are and makes learning so damn streamable!