Radiolab Presents: The World’s Smartest Animal
Originally Aired: Thursday, May 30, 2019
(Above photo credit: Pexels)
A few months ago, Radiolab producer Pat Walters was talking with two of his favorite science writers, Dan Engber and Laurel Braitman, and they went on a little bit of a rant … about animal intelligence research. Both Dan and Laurel adore animal intelligence, but completely despise most research on animal intelligence. So much of it, they say, is designed to test animals on tasks that we think show a human is smart, which is backwards. (That goes for most writing about animal intelligence, too – remember Paul, the octopus who predicted the World Cup winners?) All this got us thinking: what really is the smartest animal in the world? Is there a fair way to figure it out?
Obviously, there is, and it’s a live Radiolab game show, judged by Jad, Robert … and a dog.
This show will pit the two science writers, Laurel and Dan, along with podcast queen Tracy Clayton and comedian Jordan Mendoza, against one another in a debate-style round of short, fun, surprising stories about unexpectedly super-smart animals to try and convince us once and for all which animal truly deserves to be crowned the world’s smartest. Along the way, we’ll reframe and expand how we think about what intelligence is, across all the animals, including us.
Dan Engber (Slate, New York Times Magazine)
Laurel Braitman (TED, bestselling author of Animal Madness)
Tracy Clayton (Another Round, Strong Black Legends)
Jordan Mendoza (Drunk Science, Comedy Central)
Macy the Dog (ANNIE)
William Berloni (Theatrical Animals)