The truth about panda sex

Zoologist Lucy Cooke explains why humans are totally wrong about panda sex, and why captive breeding backfires.

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  • We humans love to hear about how utterly useless pandas are at sex. 'They won't breed to save their species!' Except that's not true at all, says zoologist Lucy Cooke.
  • Wild pandas are extremely virile — their sperm is 10 to 100 times more dense than human sperm — and pandas in the wild have been observed having sex 40 times in a single afternoon.
  • In this comprehensive and fascinating talk, Cooke explains the panda mating ritual ("a sort of urinary Olympics"), why captive breeding has created a second kind of panda that struggles to survive in the wild, and she reveals what humans can really do help: stop micromanaging pandas' sex lives.
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Dead penguin sex: The reason you should't anthropomorphize animals

Assigning human values and morals to wild animals will only end in heartbreak. And possible necrophilia.

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  • Humans have been giving animals human characteristics since the 4th century, A.D. when a highly popular book changed how we viewed nature.
  • You might not want to march with the penguins. Male Adelie penguins, in particular, have particularly disturbing mating habits that might have never made it past the editing room.
  • Anthropomorphizing animals will only lead to ignorance about them. So how do should we present them in the future? With total and brutal honesty.
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Sloths: Evolutionary losers or the true jungle king?

Sloths are unfairly ridiculed and underappreciated animals, says zoologist and filmmaker Lucy Cooke.

Surprising Science

Sloths are unfairly ridiculed and underappreciated animals, says zoologist and filmmaker Lucy Cooke. They are actually adapted to their life in the forest in a very ingenious way. In fact, they may be the ultimate survivors, making them the true kings of the jungle.

Pablo Escobar’s hippos: Why drug lords shouldn’t play God

Roaming horny hippos obtained illegally by Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar? It's a heck of a true story.

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Lucy Cooke—an acclaimed zoologist, author, and TV presenter—talks to us about Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar's animal menagerie, which included four hippos illegally stolen from Africa. Four became eight, and eight became sixteen, and so on, and since these hippos have no other hippo competition there's a strong potential that you may have a brand new species of hippo, which Cooke refers to as "Hippopotamus Escobarus." Her latest book is The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife.