Nova, Bat Superpowers
Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 9 PM
Repeats Thursday, Sept. 16, at 2 AM
Could the source of the world’s deadliest viruses hold the secret to a healthier and longer life? Bats have a sinister reputation as potential sources for some of the deadliest disease outbreaks: Ebola, MERS, SARS, and most recently, SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the COVID-19 global pandemic. Yet scientists are discovering new evidence that bats are biological marvels and may hold a key to longevity. Not only are these airborne mammals the fastest recorded flyers in the sky, they’re resistant to the diseases they carry and have freakishly long lifespans for their tiny size. So, what’s their secret? Could bats’ unique flying abilities be tied to their super-charged immunity? And what else can we learn from their peculiar biology? From caves in Thailand and Texas, to an infested bell tower in France, to labs around the globe, NOVA meets the scientists who are decoding the superpowers of the bat.