The Beauty of Ugly
Video: Full Episode

In the natural world, beauty can be many things — including what we might find completely repulsive. Not only can the bizarre be attractive, it can also provide just the edge a creature needs to succeed in a difficult environment. From frogfish and hagfish to naked mole rats and elephant seals, we learn how and why ugly can be beautiful, even when it isn’t pretty. Buy the DVD This film premiered November 17, 2007.

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  • Jorge Pagán

    You guys/gals are the best! I am blessed to be able to view your programs.

  • E. Parrott

    This program offers so much intriguing science and fabulous camera work but I find the incessant talk of the ugliness and repulsiveness of these animals completely mystifying. Why do we have to perceive the creatures around us this way? Is this the sort of narrative PBS has to engage in to attract viewers? If so, is the harm worth the gain?

    And why are all the school kids in Oklahoma on a quest to find the ugliest bug? They all look pretty beautiful to me. What would happen if we sent kids out to find the most beautiful bug? Do you think they’d bring back the same bugs that are winning the first place ugly prize?

  • Veronica

    I love all of your exciting as well as relaxing programs. I have been watching for years and I hope… many years to come.

  • chanel

    That was a fascinating show. Animals don’t have to look pretty, or even decent, in order to have an interesting lifestyle. In my opinion, some of the ugliest animals are arthropods. They look so diffrent from the vertibrites we know and love. Not only can they be creepy and icky, but some are really nasty. It ranges among biting, stinging, poisoning, scavenging, sucking blood and carrying disease. However there are plenty that are benign and even helpful. For example, some such as crustacians make a good meal for humans. They are still remarkible for being one of the most sucsesful orders in the animal kingdom. I do like pretty butterflies and moths. Parasitic worms are even more grusome. I can’t think of any animal more hideous and disgusting. Compared to worms and bugs, male elephant seals are adorable, vultures are dashing, and alligater snapping turtles are beautiful. An interesting follow-up show would be about beautiful animals.

  • Adorah

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  • Joseph

    I’ve enjoyed these nature programs since my sophomore year in college. I find your shows to be very peaceful and educational at the same time. I wish all television stations were like PBS, instead of MTV and …

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