Nature is awesome and exciting, and sometimes maybe a little scary. The unique ways in which different creatures and organisms have evolved and the amazing – if sometimes quite strange – adaptations they develop to allow them to function and thrive in their environment is mind-blowing.
Nat Geo reveals some of the distinctive features of various creatures in a new series called “Super/Natural.” The series—produced by James Cameron and narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch—combines cutting-edge filmmaking technology and the latest scientific innovations to reveal the super-senses and “secret powers” of the extraordinary creatures.
I spoke with Tom Hugh-Jones, Executive Producer of ‘Super/Natural’ and asked him to explain the motivation behind the series and what he hopes audiences will get out of watching it. Hugh-Jones explained: “If you were to step into a forest or anywhere in the natural world, there are things that happen that you wouldn’t appreciate. I think it’s easy to dismiss animals and plants as something primitive or basic, but the more you look at them, you realize that they have a kind of almost alien intelligence – that they have these abilities that are way beyond that.”
He continued, “We wanted to show people things that they wouldn’t immediately be able to see or understand and lead them to look at these superpowers – these hidden animal powers.”
The title of the series is a play on the word “supernatural”. The word is used to describe things like ghosts or extrasensory perception and is used by many to mean something that defies or exceeds the laws of nature.
In my opinion, the predicate of the word “supernatural” is “natural.” I do not suppose that things which seem supernatural have defied or violated natural laws. Occam’s Razor would suggest that perhaps these phenomena are, in fact, part of the natural order and operate within the limits of the laws of nature — but they simply exceed our limited understanding of those laws.
I am constantly intrigued by the diversity of creatures and organisms in nature and the ways in which life evolves to adapt traits and abilities uniquely suited to survival. For many, the coincidence of these unique features implies some level of intention from a higher being – an intelligent design.
I prefer the explanation given by Stephen Hawking in the book “The Grand Design”. I’m paraphrasing, but it basically boils down to evolution and natural selection being all the explanation you need. The reason we find amazing creatures with fascinating and strangely unique abilities and adaptations is not because someone or something designed them that way – it’s because that’s the only way they could be and continue to survive and thrive as a species.
No matter what you think or why, I think most people will agree that these creatures and their abilities are awesome. Nat Geo does an impressive job—as always—capturing nature on film and telling it in a compelling and compelling way. You can watch “Super/Natural” on Disney+.