Science Night 2/8

7:00 PM Nature – “Raccoon Nation”
Are we, in an effort to outwit raccoons, actually making them smarter and unwittingly contributing to their evolutionary success? Are the ever more complex obstacles that our fast-paced urban world throws at them actually pushing the development of raccoon brains? In this film, scientists from around the world share their thoughts and work to help explore this scientific theory. Attempting to do something that has never been done before, they closely follow a family of urban raccoons as they navigate the complex world of a big city.

8:00 PM NOVA – “Separating Twins”
This is the incredible story of Trishna and Krishna, twin girls born joined at the head. Abandoned shortly after birth at an orphanage in Bangladesh, they had little chance of survival, until they were saved and taken to Australia by an aid worker. After two years battling for life, the twins are ready for a series of delicate operations, which will prepare them for the ultimate challenge: a marathon separation surgery that will allow them to live truly separate lives. Surgeons knew there was no guarantee of survival for either of the girls — but without surgery there was no hope at all. With exclusive access, our cameras have been with Trishna and Krishna and their caregivers throughout their journey.

9:00 PM Inside Nature’s Giants – “Big Cats”
The experts dissect a lion and a tiger. From the outside, the two look very different, but once their skins are removed, even the experts find it hard to tell them apart. Biologist Simon Watt comes face to face with a liger – a cross between a lion and a tiger – proof of the two species’ similarity. One of the most characteristic features of these magnificent animals – something that distinguishes them from the small cats – is their ability to roar. The team delves into the lion’s throat to find the voicebox and makes a discovery that helps explain the way the vocal apparatus works. Richard Dawkins explains the evolutionary arms race between predators and their prey in the struggle to survive. Finally, the experts try to find out why male lions have a distinctive mane.