Discover the True Intelligence of Animals with Animal IQ, a New Series from PBS Digital Studios and Nature
Now streaming on YouTube
Eight-episode series hosted by Trace Dominguez and Natalia Borrego
NEW YORK and ARLINGTON, VA, February 25, 2021 – Do elephants really never forget? Are foxes actually that sly? Just how clever is your dog? Animal IQ, a new series from PBS Digital Studios in partnership with Nature, helps finally answer the question: how smart are Earth’s animals? Animal IQ premieres today on PBS Digital Studios’ science and nature-focused YouTube channel, “Terra.” The series will feature eight episodes, premiering every three weeks on Terra starting today. Episodes will also be available to watch on pbs.org/animaliq and the PBS Video app.
In each episode of Animal IQ, hosts Trace Dominguez (Uno Dos of Trace, PBS Star Gazers) and Natalia Borrego (Nature: The Mighty Weasel; Nature: Super Cats) ask the experts, do the research and measure the smarts of species on an Intelligence Rubric to determine if other animals can truly think. And if so, just how intelligent are they? Do all animals map their environment and defend their territory? Can they recognize themselves? Do they cooperate? Socialize? Have self-control? Understand death? Feel empathy?
“There are many unanswered questions about the intelligence of the animal kingdom, and we’re excited to partner with PBS Digital Studios to uncover these mysteries,” said Danielle Steinberg, Digital Lead for Nature. “Natalia Borrego and Trace Dominguez help expand our own intelligence when it comes to understanding animal smarts – and they do so in an incredibly fun and easy-to-understand way.”
An overview of Animal IQ’s first three episodes is below:
Episode 1, “How Intelligent Are Dogs, Really?”
Premieres Thursday, February 25
From classic television’s Lassie to Pixar’s Doug to “101 Dalmatians,” audiences have long imagined that their canine companions know more than we can understand. Is a human’s best friend one of the smartest around, or is it all a trick?
Episode 2, “Foxes: Dog Hardware Running Cat Software”
Premieres Thursday, March 18
The fox has a reputation for being sly and cunning, but are foxes really smart enough to hatch a devious plot? They look like dogs, they act like dogs, but they’re not dogs at all. In some ways, they may be even smarter.
Episode 3, “Penguins Are as Smart as They Are Cute”
Premieres Thursday, April 8
Penguins are cute and beloved characters, but are these popular birds as smart as they are well dressed?
Subsequent episodes will focus on the intelligence of rats, elephants, otters, lions and dolphins.
About Trace Dominguez
Trace Dominguez is a curiosity explorer, science communicator, Emmy-nominated on-camera host, producer and podcaster. He is the producer and host of PBS Star Gazers, the world’s only weekly television series on naked eye astronomy. He also creates Uno Dos of Trace, a video series exploring diverse topics across the sciences on YouTube, and founded, wrote, hosted and produced one of the first daily science shows online: Seeker. He has appeared in programming across the Discovery and Science channels, NowThis, and Animal Planet. Dominguez has a B.S. in Psychology from Western Michigan University and an M.A. in Strategic Communication from American University. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Flavia and their cats, Carmela and Barley.
About Natalia Borrego
Natalia Borrego, Ph.D., is a wildlife biologist, researcher and educator. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Miami and has spent more than a decade studying the behavior of large carnivores in the African wilderness and at zoological institutions. She is most well known for her studies on big cat cognition and was the first scientist to experimentally investigate cognition in African lions, tigers and leopards. Borrego values making science accessible to non-scientists: she appears in several wildlife documentaries and her work has been covered in publications such as Science Magazine and Scientific American. Borrego is a postdoctoral researcher with the University of Minnesota’s Lion Center and a teaching fellow at American University in Cairo. She was recently awarded the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior’s Collaborative Research Grant and will join the Institute’s Department for the Ecology of Animal Societies as a postdoc.
Executives in Charge for PBS Digital Studios: Brandon Arolfo, Adam Dylewski
Assistant Director of Programming, PBS Digital Studios: Niki Walker
Digital Lead, NATURE: Danielle Steinberg
Produced for PBS by Trace Elements Media
Senior Producer: Trace Dominguez
Writer: Trace Dominguez
Hosts: Natalia Borrego, Trace Dominguez
Producers: Lauren Ellis, Adam Milt
Editor: Amanda Deisler
Designers: Therese Mcpherson, Ricardo Burneo
Researcher: Hannah Thomasy
Support for Animal IQ is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by PBS.
Now in its 39th season on PBS, Nature brings the wonders of natural history to millions of American viewers. The series has won more than 700 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities and environmental organizations, including 19 Emmys and three Peabody Awards. Nature is available for streaming simultaneously on all station-branded PBS platforms, including pbs.org/nature and the PBS Video app, which is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members can view episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details). The series is produced by THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET. Fred Kaufman is series executive producer.
About PBS Digital Studios
PBS Digital Studios produces original, digital programming for YouTube and Facebook Watch, designed to engage, enlighten, and entertain online audiences. The PBS Digital Studios network has more than 27 million subscribers, generating an average of 50-60 million views a month and has acquired more than 3.1 billion lifetime views. Currently, the Studio has 20 original series streaming on 14 active channels line, including eight series from PBS member stations. Series include the Webby Award-winning It’s Okay to Be Smart, and Crash Course, as well as popular series such as Two Cents, Physics Girl and PBS Space Time.