Friday, January 11, 2011
Earth still holds many secrets. Despite the advances of science in the last two centuries, there are places on this planet humans have never been, and things we've never seen or even imagined. Many of the creatures we think we know from observing them in 'our world' spend the vast majority of their lives in hidden realms we have little or no access to. Inspired by the unreachable and the unknown, we've invented tools to help penetrate this other world - the wild - where animals live out their lives. We've sent surrogate machines to probe and process and have gained new understanding and appreciation for the challenges wild animals face. Increasingly, streams of digital data from animals reveal new patterns of behavior and excursions to habitats that tantalize us with virtual glimpses of how these creatures function. Yet, we have not been able to see - to directly observe - these phenomena. Until recently we've been constrained to infer animal behavior and ecology from secondary or tertiary data sources. In this presentation I will outline the state of the art in cutting-edge exploration and research into the hidden lives of some of the planets most extraordinary creatures (from flying lemurs to blue whales) using Crittercam - an animal-borne imaging and data logging system that captures a wild point of view.