Nature is magnificent and fascinating and sometimes maybe even a little scary. The unique ways in which different creatures and organisms have evolved, and the amazing — if sometimes rather odd — adaptations they evolve to allow them to function and thrive in their environments is mind-blowing.
Nat Geo reveals some of the signature abilities of various creatures in a new series titled Super/Natural. Produced by James Cameron and narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, the series combines cutting-edge cinematic technology with the latest scientific innovations to reveal the super senses and “secret powers” of extraordinary creatures.
I spoke to Tom Hugh-Jones, Executive Producer of Super/Natural, and asked him to explain the motivation behind the show and what he’s hoping for from viewers. Hugh-Jones explained: “If you would just take a step into a forest or anywhere in nature, all sorts of things happen that you wouldn’t appreciate. I think it’s easy to dismiss animals and plants as somehow primitive or basic, but the more you study them, the more you understand that they have an almost extraterrestrial intelligence – that they have these abilities that go way beyond that. “
He continued, “We wanted to show people things that they wouldn’t be able to see or understand right away and kind of guide them and get a glimpse into these superpowers — these hidden powers of animals.”
The title of the series is a pun on the word “supernatural”. The word is used to describe things like spirits or extrasensory perception, and is used by many to mean something that defies or transcends the laws of nature.
In my opinion, the operative part of the word “supernatural” is the “natural” part. I do not believe that seemingly supernatural things disobeyed or broke the laws of nature. Occam’s Razor would suggest that perhaps these phenomena are indeed part of the natural order and operate within the confines of the laws of nature – but simply transcend our limited understanding of those laws.
I am constantly fascinated by the diversity of creatures and organisms in nature and the way life evolves to adapt traits and abilities uniquely suited to survival. For many, the coming together of these unique features implies some level of intent from a higher being – intelligent design.
I prefer Stephen Hawking’s explanation in The Grand Design. I’m paraphrasing, but the bottom line is that evolution and natural selection are all the explanations you need. The reason we find amazing creatures with fascinating and oddly unique abilities and customizations isn’t because someone or something designed them that way – it’s because they can only be that way and survive and thrive as a species.
Regardless of what you believe or why, I think most will agree that these creatures and their abilities are awesome. Nat Geo does – as always – an impressive job of capturing nature on film and telling it in an engaging and engaging way. You can watch Super/Natural on Disney+.