playlist

My favorite animal

Some TED speakers are obsessed with one particular animal — and their joy and passion might just get you obsessed too. You'll meet apes that write! Shrimp that kick! Octopi that disappear!

  1. 17:25
    Susan Savage-Rumbaugh The gentle genius of bonobos

    Savage-Rumbaugh's work with bonobo apes, which can understand spoken language and learn tasks by watching, forces the audience to rethink how much of what a species can do is determined by biology — and how much by cultural exposure.

  2. 5:27
    David Gallo Underwater astonishments

    David Gallo shows jaw-dropping footage of amazing sea creatures, including a color-shifting cuttlefish, a perfectly camouflaged octopus and a Times Square's worth of neon light displays from fish who live in the blackest depths of the ocean.

  3. 16:25
    Sheila Patek The shrimp with a kick!

    Biologist Sheila Patek talks about her work measuring the feeding strike of the mantis shrimp, one of the fastest movements in the animal world, using video cameras recording at 20,000 frames per second.

  4. 18:12
    Mike deGruy Hooked by an octopus

    Underwater filmmaker Mike deGruy has spent decades looking intimately at the ocean. A consummate storyteller, he takes the stage at Mission Blue to share his awe and excitement — and his fears — about the blue heart of our planet.

  5. 17:20
    Beverly + Dereck Joubert Life lessons from big cats

    Beverly + Dereck Joubert live in the bush, filming and photographing lions and leopards in their natural habitats. With stunning footage (some never before seen), they discuss their personal relationships with these majestic animals — and their quest to save the big cats from human threats.

  6. 16:41
    Tierney Thys Swim with the giant sunfish

    Marine biologist Tierney Thys asks us to step into the water to visit the world of the " Mola mola " , or giant ocean sunfish. Basking, eating jellyfish and getting massages, this behemoth offers clues to life in the open sea.

  7. 20:31
    Deborah Gordon The emergent genius of ant colonies

    With a dusty backhoe, a handful of Japanese paint markers and a few students in tow, Deborah Gordon digs up ant colonies in the Arizona desert in search of keys to understanding complex systems.

  8. 13:51
    Sara Lewis The loves and lies of fireflies

    Biologist Sara Lewis has spent the past 20 years getting to the bottom of the magic and wonder of fireflies. In this charming talk, she tells us how and why the beetles produce their silent sparks, what happens when two fireflies have sex, and why one group of females is known as the firefly vampire. (It's not pretty.) Find out more astonishing facts about fireflies in Lewis' footnotes, below.