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30 Animals That Made Us Smarter

BBC World Service

Amazing things humans have learnt from the animal kingdom. Inspiring, fascinating, bingeable.

14:50 | Jul 22nd

The shape of flippers may help with the efficiency of wind turbines, thanks to humpback whales. Bumps on the edge of their flippers assist them, as they power through water. Biologist Frank Fish discovered this when he saw a sculpture. With Patrick ...Show More

13:22 | Jul 15th

How do geckos walk up walls and across ceilings? It is all down to the hair-like structure on their feet. A sticky material based on these clever lizards could help us grab debris in space! With Patrick Aryee. For more information and animations: w...Show More
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13:13 | Jul 8th

Meet the spider-inspired robot that one day might just save your life. Based on how spiders move, it could get to places too difficult for a rescue team to access. Just like our eight-legged friends, it can squeeze around obstacles and through small ...Show More

13:08 | Jul 1st

Millions of ridged scales make it difficult for bacteria to attach to the skin of a shark. Can we reduce infections and fight superbugs in a similar way? Have a look at our beautiful animation to see how the shark’s scales or ‘denticles’ work: More

14:59 | Jun 24th

Imagine a drone that can fly like the Wandering Albatross. The huge bird harnesses power from the wind and sun and glides over the sea. It is extraordinary. And an engineer has designed a robotic glider that can also ride the wind, while surfing the ...Show More

12:45 | Jun 17th

It performs headstands in a desert; now this beetle is teaching us how to collect water. The Stenocara beetle survives in one of the most arid places in the world – the Namib Desert in southern Africa. Scientists have been studying its wings and back...Show More

13:34 | Jun 10th

Want a warm and waterproof wetsuit? Then take a look at how the sea otter does it! It’s all down to air-trapping hairs. Ideally, surfers want something that is flexible and easy to wear, which sheds water as quickly as possible when you are out of t...Show More

14:58 | Jun 3rd

The cartwheeling spider acrobat that could help us explore Mars. This is no ordinary spider and it has led to an extraordinary robot design, perfect for space exploration. With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals The audio ...Show More

14:51 | May 27th

Fish living in sub-zero waters are inspiring ways to de-ice planes and store ice cream. Arctic and Atlantic cod and also snow fleas are able to live at temperatures which would normally freeze human blood. We are learning from them - new methods are ...Show More

16:17 | May 20th

A building which heats and cools itself? How was that possible? Termites had the answer. The insects circulate air around their homes or mounds and regulate the temperature inside. They inspired an architect called Mick Pearce, who was designing the ...Show More

14:28 | May 13th

How a trip to the seaside led to the development of a glue and a formaldehyde-free plywood. When a scientist called Kaichang Li had trouble pulling mussels off a rock, he decided to investigate their tenacious grip. See our animations from previous ...Show More

11:51 | May 6th

The secrets of a firefly’s glow could help us brighten our lives and create more energy efficient lighting. See our animation: Male fireflies attract mates by producing flashes of light in the dark at night. Scientis...Show More

14:05 | Apr 29th

A bizarre looking creature that may help us make vaccines last longer to move them across the globe. It is less than a millimetre long but the tardigrade is tough - really tough! Its extraordinary survival abilities may hold the key to helping us ext...Show More

14:51 | Apr 22nd

Click, click, click! The bat’s navigational skills could be life changing to people who are blind. Daniel Kish has mastered the art of echolocation and can navigate by tongue clicking. In this podcast, you can try too. With Patrick Aryee. www.bbcwo...Show More

14:10 | Apr 15th

A bird’s remarkable skull and the quest to protect aeroplane flight data recorders from damage caused by high impacts. Woodpeckers can hammer repeatedly on trees without damaging their brain. Could this lead to new designs for black boxes and bicycle...Show More

14:56 | Apr 8th

The blood sucking pest and a pain free surgical needle. Scientists have been studying the mosquito’s mouthparts. Could the dreaded ‘prick’ of a needle soon be a thing of the past? With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals

13:04 | Apr 1st

The eight-limbed master of disguise and surveillance technology. The colour and texture-changing abilities of the octopus are helping researchers develop camouflage. Can we make robots do the same thing? With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals

14:59 | Mar 25th

The story of the bird and the engineer. How the kingfisher inspired the design of a train. The 500 series Shinkansen, also known as bullet train, is one of the fastest in the world. It is also quiet, but that was not always the case. This is the tale...Show More

03:09 | Mar 9th

"It’s about animals which have inspired us": Patrick Aryee explains what it’s all about. Episode one available from 25 March 2019. #30Animals