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Sunday, April 4 at 8 p.m. – Nature "Moment of Impact"

(Rochester, NY) How does a cheetah burst into blinding speed to hunt gazelles? How can a basilisk lizard “walk” on water? Or a woodpecker’s brain withstand forces that are 20 times a boxer’s knockout punch? There are moments in the natural world that inspire awe and create wonder, moments when animals display astounding abilities as they come into contact with each other and the world around them -- predator against prey, physical against elemental, enormous against miniscule.

How has nature engineered these creatures to perform in such remarkable ways? Live action footage only reveals part of the answer. Using the latest state-of-the-art imaging technologies including 3-D anatomical CGI, motion capture and advanced medical diagnostics, Nature takes viewers inside each animal for a unique perspective and an innovative examination of extraordinary feats. The breakthrough two-part series Moment of Impact premieres
consecutive Sundays, April 4 and 11 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11).


In two eye-opening hours, Moment of Impact examines species in two vastly different natural environments, demonstrating an impressive array of abilities. The program creates “360° Time Slice” technology using high-speed time-lapse cameras, infrared and night vision, combined with computer graphics to illustrate astonishing physical attributes and behaviors.

The film digitally strips away successive photo-realistic layers of skin, muscles, skeletal structure, and brain to show the bodily reflexes of animals caught in the heat of moment. Viewers will come away with a deeper understanding of the inner workings of the animals’ complex anatomical structures and processes.

Part 1 – Hunters & Herds (April 4) focuses on savannahs and grasslands, where the planet’s largest concentrations of herd animals come up against some of nature’s most successful hunters. In Africa’s Serengeti, wildebeest, built like marathon runners, are under constant attack from lions, born sprinters. Both are speedy. But as long as the wildebeest maintain a 50-yard safety zone when lions are near, their risk of becoming lunch is greatly reduced. In California’s grasslands, ground squirrels face a regular battle with rattlesnakes that hunt using heat-detecting organs located on the sides of their heads. The squirrels have developed a surprising defensive strategy of deception. When faced with a venomous viper, instead of running away, the squirrel stays put and flicks its tail to increase its heat profile, fooling the snake into believing it’s larger than it actually is. Among the other animals explored in this episode are the giraffe, with its miraculously long neck, and the elephant and its multifunctional trunk.

Part 2 – Jungle (April 11) looks at the incredible bio-engineering of jungle residents, both on the ground and in the forest canopy. Leaf-cutter ants are capable of carrying materials 10 times their weight. Equally impressive, the jaws of trap-jaw ants can produce a bite force 300 times their own body weight -- stronger than that of a shark’s. Cuban crocodiles have the unlikely ability to leap up to six feet straight out of the water to catch their prey, while basilisk lizards walk on water, thanks to their wide-webbed feet and unique gaits. No wonder the basilisk is called the “Jesus lizard.” Among many other animal talents explored, Jungle also takes a looks at a how ospreys dive for fish, and how a bat “swims” through the air.

Pictured: A chameleon uses its fast, telescoping tongue to catch an insect meal.
Credit: ©NGHT, Inc./WNET.ORG

 

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