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Exploration Wednesday – Odd Couples, Easter Island & More!

Posted on 07 Nov 2012

"Nature: Animal Odd Couples" 

Can a dog and a cheetah really be friends? How did the “giants” of Easter Island come to their final resting place? And when your dog looks guilty, does he really feel that way? An all-new AETN Exploration Wednesday searches for answers to these burning questions and more, starting Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.

First up on “Nature” at 7 p.m., “Animal Odd Couples” explores how animals bond with other species. Infant animals that face certain death without nurturing develop strong and unusual relationships with their respective saviors. A tiger cub with no mother in sight, is bottle fed by a chip. A giant tortoise snuggles a baby hippo. And an abandoned meerkat pup is brought up by a clever crow. Are these aberrations of nature or instincts gone awry? “Nature” explores whether this type of bonding  only forms when animals are removed from their natural environments or whether they’re evidence of a broad array of emotions among animals. “Animal Odd Couples” looks at the remarkable relationships firsthand and, through caregivers, biologists and animal behaviorists, investigates what they suggest about the nature of animal emotions.

Then, explore how a remote, bleak speck of rock in the middle of the Pacific has mystified the world ever since the first Europeans arrived in 1722. At 8 p.m., “NOVA: The Mystery of Easter Island,” searches for the answers to dozens of enigmas. How and why did the ancient islanders build and move nearly 900 giant statues that weigh up to 86 tons? How did they transform a presumed paradies into a treeless wasteland, bringing ruin to the island and themselves? “NOVA” explores recent controversioal claims that challenge decades of previous thinking about the islanders, who have been accused of everything from ecocide to cannibalism. With the help pof an accurate, 15-ton replica statue, the team sets out to test high-risk and seemingly unlikely theories.

Finally, at 9 p.m., get the answers you’ve always wanted about what animals are thinking. David Pogue and the team at "NOVA scienceNOW" investigates how animals see the world and us. Pogue meets – and competes – with a menagerie of clever critters that challenge preconceived notions about what makes “us” different from “them” to expand our understandings of how animals really think.

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