Expanding Universe: Wonders of Life (Enhanced DVD)
There are blind worms that only have two senses, the sense of smell, and the sense of touch. Because they live below ground, there is no need for the visual sense. What happens when the worm burrows are flooded and worms float up to the surface for birds to eat them? Maybe having eyesight would not be such a bad idea.
Professor Brian Cox unabashedly takes the stance that the development of senses was critical for life to experience the universe. What good is a world full of light that blind worms cannot see? These are profound observations. Prof. Cox demonstrates that when the environment provides the stimuli, creatures react by evolving with senses able to perceive it. He even goes so far to say that the abundance of things available for sensory exploration is responsible for human intellect, with curiosity being the root cause of our advancement.
Not a small claim, but perhaps a valid one. Professor Cox gives many examples of how animals and other creatures adapted to an environment that included new stimuli or challenges. Bats developed highly tractable sonar to echo-locate prey instead of trying to use eyesight, which was rather useless in the very dark. Canines developed a tremendous sense of smell and more accurate hearing than humans did. Humans found that communication by sounds, which eventually developed into language, was their survival solution. Advancements were a product of the sensual response to the environment and so this continues in the same way, as we expand in the universe with greater understanding.