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.
The next programme deals with flying insects. It begins in Central Europe, where the Körös River plays host to millions of giant mayflies as they rise from their larval skins to mate. — the climax of their lives. Mayflies and dragonflies were among the first to take to the air about 320 million years ago, and fossils reveal that some were similar in size to a seagull. Damselflies are also looked at in detail.
The American Dipper can plunge its head into freezing Arctic water up to 60 times a minute. In the summer, ferocious mosquitoes can draw up to a pint of blood a day from caribou. Take a fascinating look into the Arctic seasons and the impact that rising sea levels have on local wildlife, and, ultimately, our own world.
David Attenborough attempts to animate the life of the ichthyosaur whose 200-million-year-old fossil remains were found on Britain's Jurassic coast. Using state-of-the-art imaging technology and CGI, the team reconstruct the skeleton and create the most detailed animation of an ichthyosaur ever made. Along the way, they stumble into a 200-million-year-old murder mystery - and only painstaking forensic investigation can unravel the story of this extraordinary creature's fate.
2018 • Nature
This instalment examines the earliest land vegetation and insects. The first plants, being devoid of stems, mainly comprised mosses and liverworts. Using both sexual and asexual methods of reproduction, they proliferated. Descended from segmented sea creatures, millipedes were among the first to take advantage of such a habitat and were quickly followed by other species. Without water to carry eggs, bodily contact between the sexes was now necessary. This was problematical for some hunters, such as spiders and scorpions, who developed courtship rituals to ensure that the female didn't eat the male.
A look at one of the most famous habitats on the planet, the Serengeti in East Africa, a vast grassland that is home to some of the greatest concentrations of herbivores on the continent. But what is the key to this exceptional grassland that allows such density and diversity?