In this talk, zoologist and television presenter Lucy Cooke (Springwatch, Curious Creatures) dispels the myths and reveals the scientific truths about some of the world’s most – and least – popular animals.
We have a long history of getting animals wrong. We get tripped up by our egos and our urge to anthropomorphise. Penguins are cute, so we want to think of them as monogamous breeders and devoted parents. The inscrutable nature of evolution itself doesn’t help. It’s a process that unfolds across deep time, and sometimes the things that work – say, the sloth’s ultra-slow metabolism and upside down lifestyle – just look weird to us.
Vultures are unclean (myth) – Vultures hoover up pestilence and poop out purity – their acidic excrement is such an effective disinfectant you could use it as a hand sanitiser (truth)
Sloths are lazy evolutionary losers that sleep all the time (myth) – Sloths are one of the most successful tropical mammals and sleep less than 10 hours a day
Lucy Cooke unravels these myths, revealing the unexpected truths she’s uncovered whilst personally snooping on sloths, stalking drunken moose and spying on tobogganing penguins.