Season 38 of Nature premieres with professor and pet octopus, culminates with spy stork

NEW YORK (PRNewswire) (13pressroom) — THIRTEEN’s Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series Nature will premiere new episodes Wednesdays at 8 p.m. beginning October 2 on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app, starting with Octopus: Making Contact.

“Octopus: Making Contact” follows an Alaskan professor who makes remarkable discoveries about the intelligence, personality and skills of a pet octopus in his home.

Octopus floating in Dr. David Scheel’s living room aquarium in Anchorage, Alaska. Credit: Ernie Kovacs / © Passion Planet (Image used with permission for promotion of Nature from pressroom.)

Octopus behavior has fascinated humans for centuries; their unique shape and skill sets often provide the inspiration for extraterrestrials in science fiction. New in the world of cephalopod research is the extent to which these intelligent animals are individual personalities — able to recognize faces and interact with other individuals — all of which is an odd adaptation for an animal thought to live an asocial existence.

Dr. David Scheel, a professor of marine biology at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, raises a day octopus in a tank in his home with assistance from his teenage daughter Laurel. Given the name Heidi, the octopus bonds with the Scheels, showing recognition of their faces, excitement when the humans come near and an inclination for playing with Laurel.

Marine biologist Dr. David Scheel observing the octopus in his home in Anchorage, Alaska. Credit: © Passion Planet (Image used with permission for promotion of Nature from pressroom.)

Scheel links his discoveries — which also include Heidi’s demonstrated abilities to change color, solve puzzles, use tools and escape through small spaces — to octopus findings from all over the world, further proving the extraordinary intelligence of these incredible creatures.

“Octopuses followed a different evolutionary path, making them different from all other intelligent animals on this planet,” said David Scheel. “I am less intrigued by the differences and more interested in our similarities. What kind of a connection is possible with an animal that has three hearts and blue blood running through its veins? It’s been a privilege to have a relationship with such a strange and wonderful creature.”

Octopus touches its reflection in glass tank. Anchorage, Alaska. Credit: Quinton Smith / © Passion Planet
(Image used with permission for promotion of Nature from pressroom.)

Nature‘s 38th season will provide a voice for the natural world by showcasing a unique and intimate look into the lives of a diverse group of wildlife and the scientists who study them.

Through groundbreaking scientific research and the latest filmmaking technology, get a glimpse of animal behavior rarely seen, from pygmy marmosets in the Amazon basin to close encounters with whales in Monterey Bay. Also discover some of the most crucial conservation stories of our time, such as the impact of reinstating keystone species into downgraded environments in The Serengeti Rules and the effect humans have had on Florida’s natural wilderness.

Nature‘s new season culminates with the four-part miniseries Spy in the Wild 2 (Spring 2020), the sequel to the popular 2017 miniseries featuring animatronic spy cameras disguised as animals to secretly record behavior in the wild. This time, meet a Spy Komodo dragon, Spy puffin, Spy stork, Spy seal and more as they are placed right in the middle of some of nature’s greatest events.

For a full list of episodes and release dates, go to:


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