ASP: Extreme Survivors
Patrick Stewart takes us on a journey to unravel the mysteries behind the incredible abilities of some of nature’s most successful survivors: the Octopus, the Electric Eel and the Salamander. Mixing daring in-the-field experiments led by charismatic scientists with specially constructed virtual models of each animal, this hour-long program investigates some extraordinary real-life superpowers.
Off the coast of Oahu we join Heather Ylitalo–Ward as she goes in search of the Day Octopus. She is on a mission to film it camouflaging and is accompanied by underwater cameraman Mike Prickett. But it’s not just a camouflage coat that allows the Day Octopus to vanish from view. Back in her lab, Heather shows how the skin of an octopus can change texture to mimic the look of coral and contort its body so its fits through the smallest holes, allowing it fool and escape its predators.
In the air above the Amazon we meet Will Crampton who is on a quest to measure how just how powerful the strike of an electric eel is. Will wades through streams of the mighty Coppename River waving his electric fish finder, listening for electric noises in the water. Finally, after 4 days of scouring every creek, he picks up the telltale noise; an electric eel is nearby. He sets a trap and the next day finds a 3ft long eel in his net. Next stop, Will’s make shift field camp where he gets the electric eel to reveal just how much voltage it can discharge. Will soon understands how it can fend off attacks from 8ft long crocodiles.
In California David Gardiner reveals arguably the greatest survival trick of them all: A salamander who can regrow its own body parts. In his lab, David performs surgery on a salamander to understand just how fast it regenerates. Over the course of 8 weeks, he photographs the salamander every day as its paw regrows and reveals incredible awe-inspiring footage that could one day be a reality for humans too.
Another animal that can regrow an organ is the Gecko. When attacked it ‘drops’ its tail. Using high-speed footage we show how this tail fools predators and allows the gecko to escape and survive.
Alongside thrilling in-the-field action, Patrick Stewart explores the mysteries behind these superpowers using specially constructed virtual models of each of our animals. With them he shows us deep inside these creatures to find out what gives them their extraordinary abilities.