After Life: The Strange Science of Decay • 2011

Category: Nature

If you have ever wondered what would happen in your own home if you were taken away and everything inside was left to rot, the answer is revealed in this programme which explores the strange and surprising science of decay. For two months, a glass box containing a typical kitchen and garden was left to rot in full public view within Edinburgh Zoo. In this resulting documentary, Dr George McGavin and his team use time-lapse cameras and specialist photography to capture the extraordinary way in which moulds, microbes and insects are able to break down our everyday things and allow new life to emerge from old. Decay is something that many of us are repulsed by, but as the programme shows, it's a process that's vital in nature. And seen in close up, it has an unexpected and sometimes mesmerising beauty.

Make a donation

Buy a brother a hot coffee? Or a cold beer?

Hope you're finding these documentaries fascinating and eye-opening. It's just me, working hard behind the scenes to bring you this enriching content.

Running and maintaining a website like this takes time and resources. That's why I'm reaching out to you. If you appreciate what I do and would like to support my efforts, would you consider "buying me a coffee"?

Donation addresses

patreon.com

BTC: bc1q8ldskxh4x9qnddhcrgcun8rtvddeldm2a07r2v

ETH: 0x5CCAAA1afc5c5D814129d99277dDb5A979672116

With your donation through , you can show your appreciation and help me keep this project going. Every contribution, no matter how small, makes a significant impact. It goes directly towards covering server costs.

You might also like

Speed of Life

Will Smith discovers hidden worlds in the middle of the planet's oldest desert.

S1E5Welcome to Earth • 2021 • Nature

Fresh Water

The need for fresh water is as strong as ever. However, the supply is becoming increasingly unpredictable for all manner of species.

S1E7Our Planet • 2019 • Nature

Snowball

In Snowball, Chris Packham tells the story of the astonishing moment in Earth’s distant past, when almost the entire planet froze – a glistening ‘Snowball Earth’ in the dark void of space. With ice wrapped around the planet to the equator, the chances of life surviving hang in the balance. Earth’s terrifying journey into the deep freeze started with fire, not ice. 800 million years ago, long before the age of the dinosaurs, before there was even animal life, the giant supercontinent Rodinia broke up. Earth’s vast powerful tectonic forces ripped the land apart, kicking off a series of events that resulted in huge amounts of carbon dioxide being sucked from the atmosphere and sending global temperatures plummeting. This plunge into the deep freeze couldn’t have come at a worse time. The very first forms of complex life - the ancestors to the amazing life we see around us today - were evolving but, as the planet froze to the equator, it looked like their days were numbered. Happily, Chris discovers that after 50 million years locked in ice, volcanic eruptions drove a great thaw. Life broke free from the ice and soon made a giant leap, from the microscopic, to the first animals big enough to see and touch.

S1E2Earth: One Planet, Many Lives • 2023 • Nature

The Next Generation

Insects are very good at making more insects, but it's not easy. Insects are tiny creatures living in a big world. Partners must find each other to mate and the next generation must survive in a huge dangerous world.

S1E2Planet Insect • 2022 • Nature

Expanding Universe

Prof Brian Cox visits the USA retelling evolutionary history and the origin of the senses.

S1E2Wonders of LifeNature

Building Bodies

The next programme explores the various sea-living invertebrates. In Morocco, the limestones are 600 million years old, and contain many invertebrate fossils. They fall broadly into three categories: shells, crinoids and segmented shells. The evolution of shelled creatures is demonstrated with the flatworm, which eventually changed its body shape when burrowing became a necessity for either food or safety. It then evolved shielded tentacles and the casings eventually enveloped the entire body: these creatures are the brachiopods. The most successful shelled animals are the molluscs, of which there are some 80,000 different species.

2/13Life on Earth • 1979 • Nature