Science as Adventure

Secret Powers

Authors: Manfred Baur, Robert Schotter. No genre - ZDF - 2003 - 30 min

Early one morning last summer, all the animals at Aachen Zoo erupted in a sudden state of uproar. Soon thereafter, and without warning, the earth shook harder than it has for ten years. People have been reporting unusual animal behaviour ahead of catastrophes for hundreds of years. Are the animals aware of something that even modern technology cannot help humans to see? Not only an increase in natural catastrophes, but in terrorism, leads us to wonder how we can see the invisible before it is directly upon us.

Dogs play an essential role in the detection of explosives and weaponry, and researchers are trying to learn from their natural senses. Military reconnaissance tanks might be equipped with state-of-the-art technology, but they are nothing like as reliable as a good nose. It is becoming increasingly commonplace for experts to use animals to protect against terrorism. Rats are trained to trace mines and there are plans to use wasps to locate invisible sources of danger.

Science as Adventure sets off on an explosive voyage of discovery through a hidden world in which humans would often be lost were it not for animal abilities. The film offers a taste of special animal perceptions and the efforts of far-reaching high-tech systems to protect us from invisible dangers.