Take an epic voyage over the remote island nation of New Zealand, the last habitable landmass to be discovered on the planet. No bigger than the state of Colorado, this small country offers an incredibly diverse landscape view that changes dramatically with each mile. From snow-capped mountains to sandy beaches, and from the glacier-carved Fiordland National Park to the crater lake of Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand is a land of extremes. It's a place where fire clashes with ice and people are always pushing the limits.
Intelligence and adaptability allow primates to tackle the many challenges of life, and this is what makes our closest relatives so successful. This resourcefulness has enabled primates to conquer an incredible diversity of habitat. Hamadryas baboons live on the open plains of Ethiopia in groups up to 400 strong. Strength in numbers gives them some protection from potential predators. But, should their path cross with other baboon troops, it can lead to all-out battle, as males try to steal females from one another, and even settle old scores. Japanese macaques are the most northerly-dwelling primates and they experience completely different challenges. Some beat the freezing conditions by having access to a thermal spa in the middle of winter. But this privilege is only for those born of the right female bloodline. For western lowland gorillas, it's the male silverback that leads his family group in the rich forests of the Congo basin. He advertises his status to all with a powerful chest-beating display. Most primates are forest dwellers, and one of the strangest is the tarsier – the only purely carnivorous primate. As it hunts for insects the tarsier leaps from tree to tree in the dead of night, using its huge forward-facing eyes to safely judge each jump. Good communication is essential for success in primate society.
Professor Alice Roberts meets our ancient ancestral family, from armadillos to sharks, and discovers our true place in the tree of life. With 4D scanning, giant origami and a ukulele, they will explore evolution like never before.
Part 3: Survival When David Attenborough first visited the Great Barrier Reef in 1957, he considered it the most spectacular place in the natural world and he assumed that it would last forever. Since then the coral has been dying at an unprecedented rate. In this episode he undertakes his most important mission to understand what the next few decades hold for this remarkable community of animals, as well as what is being done to save it. On his journey, David uncovers the remarkable ways in which scientists are trying to preserve the reef and embarks on an ambitious exploration of his own, the deepest dive ever on the reef. But despite the discoveries now being made by scientists and in the reef's furthest reaches, David fears for the future of this incredibly complex and beautiful ecosystem so vital for the world's oceans.
Two hundred million years ago there was an extraordinary development in the history of life: an ancient group of reptiles made a giant evolutionary leap into the skies. In this groundbreaking, BAFTA winning, documentary, David Attenborough travels back in time to discover how and why these creatures took flight, and why after 150 million years of aerial domination they vanished. Using state of the art CGI, and based on new finds and the latest research, Flying Monsters recreates these spectacular creatures and takes us into their world. Beginning on Dorset’s 'Jurassic Coast', David’s journey takes him to sites around the world, from Southern France to New Mexico. With the help of a team of scientists he unravels one of palaeontologys enduring mysteries, how did lizards the size of giraffes defy gravity and soar through prehistoric skies? Driven by the information he finds as he attempts to answer these questions, Attenborough finds that the marvel of pterosaur flight has evolutionary echoes that resonate even today.
2011 • Nature