Extreme Animal Weapons

Discover how a secret biological code has shaped nature’s battleground. Airing November 22, 2017 at 9 pm on PBS Aired November 22, 2017 on PBS

Program Description

From lobster claws and dog teeth to bee stings and snake fangs, every creature depends on a weapon. But some are armed to extremes that make no practical sense—whether it’s bull elks with giant 40-pound antler racks or tiny rhinoceros beetles with horns bigger than their body. What explains giant tusks, horns, and claws that can slow an animal down and even impair health and nutrition? NOVA investigates the riddle of outsize weaponry and uncovers a bold new theory about what triggers an animal arms race. In creatures as varied as dung beetles and saber-toothed tigers, shrimp and elephants, the same hidden factors trigger the race and, once started, these arms races unfold in exactly the same pattern. Join scientists as they crack the secret biological code that underlies nature’s battleground. 

 

Broadcast Credits

PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY
Peter Fison
EDITED BY
Mark Robertson
CAMERA
Stuart Dunn
MUSIC
Paul Hartnoll
ANIMATION
Hello Charlie
NARRATED BY
Eric Meyers
PRODUCTION MANAGERS
Helena Berglund
Pauline Gates
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Sarah Janalli
ASSISTANT PRODUCER
Mary Melville
ASSISTANT EDITOR
Alan Neal
ONLINE EDITOR AND COLORIST
Mark Richard Adams
AUDIO MIX
Matt Coster
Harry Hills
Ben Wood
RESEARCH
Sophie Meyjes
Guthrie O’Brien
ARCHIVAL MATERIAL
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Getty Images
Oxford Scientific Films
SPECIAL THANKS
Andrew Farke
Flathead Lake Biological Station
Jim Phillips
Laura Denitto
Montana Conservation Science Institute
Montana State Parks
Natural History Museum of Utah
Stephen and Natalia Emlen
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US Dept of Defense & Malmstrom AFB
University of California Museum of Paleontology
Gonzaga University
University of Montana
Philip Wright Zoological Museum
Emlen Laboratory
INSPIRED BY THE BOOK
‘Animal Weapons’ by Douglas J. Emlen
BBC SERIES EDITOR
Roger Webb
NOVA SERIES GRAPHICS
yU + co.
NOVA THEME MUSIC
Walter Werzowa
John Luker
Musikvergnuegen, Inc.
ADDITIONAL NOVA THEME MUSIC
Ray Loring
Rob Morsberger
CLOSED CAPTIONING
The Caption Center
POST PRODUCTION ONLINE EDITOR
David Bigelow
DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Jennifer Welsh
PUBLICITY
Eileen Campion
Eddie Ward
ASSOCIATE RESEARCHER
Brian Kantor
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Linda Callahan
DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL AUDIENCE RESEARCH
Cory Allen
PARALEGAL
Sarah Erlandson
TALENT RELATIONS
Janice Flood
LEGAL COUNSEL
Susan Rosen
DIGITAL MANAGING PRODUCER
Kristine Allington
SENIOR DIGITAL EDITOR
Tim De Chant
RIGHTS MANAGER
Lauren Miller
UNIT MANAGER
Vanessa Ly
SUPERVISING PRODUCER
Kevin Young
SENIOR PROMOTIONS PRODUCER AND EDITOR
Michael H. Amundson
BROADCAST MANAGER
Nathan Gunner
BUSINESS MANAGER
Ariam McCrary
SCIENCE EDITOR
Caitlin Saks
DEVELOPMENT PRODUCER
David Condon
PROJECT DIRECTOR
Pamela Rosenstein
COORDINATING PRODUCER
Elizabeth Benjes
SENIOR SCIENCE EDITOR
Evan Hadingham
SENIOR PRODUCER
Chris Schmidt
SENIOR SERIES PRODUCER
Melanie Wallace
DIRECTOR, BUSINESS OPERATIONS & FINANCE
Laurie Cahalane
DEPUTY EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Julia Cort
SENIOR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Paula S. Apsell

A BBC Studios and NOVA/WGBH Boston Co-Production

© 2017 BBC

Additional Material © 2017 WGBH Educational Foundation

All rights reserved

This program was produced by WGBH, which is solely responsible for its content.

Original funding for this program was provided by Draper, 23andMe, the David H. Koch Fund for Science, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

IMAGE:

Image credit: (Jackson's Chameleon)
© Aernout Zevenbergen/Alamy Stock Photo

Participants

Doug Averill
Ranch Owner
Doug Emlen
University of Montana
Stephen Emlen
Cornell University
Jack Hogg
Montana Conservation Science Institute
Mark Loewen
Natural History Museum of Utah
Brook Swanson
Gonzaga University

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