The story of how more than 220 dinosaur bones were found in the Argentinean desert, which were found to have come from a previously undiscovered species, which is the largest land dwelling animal known to have existed. David Attenborough visits the archaeological dig and a laboratory where the remains are being cleaned and analysed with lead scientist Dr Diego Pol and evolutionary biologist Ben Garrod, and meets animators, model-makers, paleontologists and anatomy experts who are working to reconstruct what the 37 metre-long creature would have looked like.
In many of the earth's natural wonders there is an abundance of animals. These can be a devastating threat to the people who live there, or they can provide a means of survival, but often at a high price. In the coastal salt marshes of northern Australia's Arnhem Land, Indigenous Australians still go hunting for the eggs of one of the world's most aggressive predators - the saltwater crocodile. Vanuatu is an island paradise in the south Pacific, but life here isn't perhaps as idyllic as it appears. Overfishing has reduced fish stocks, making food harder to come by for the indigenous islanders like 45-year-old Nigasau.
Around 30% of the land's surface is desert, the most varied of our ecosystems despite the lack of rain. Unravel the secrets of desert survival and experience the ephemeral nature of this dynamic environment. Watch Saharan sandstorms nearly a mile high and desert rivers that run for a single day. In the Gobi Desert, rare Bactrian camels get moisture from the snow. In the Atacama, guanacos survive by licking dew off cactus spines. In the USA, the brief blooming of Death Valley triggers a plague of locusts 65km wide and 160km long. A unique aerial voyage over the Namibian desert reveals elephants on a long trek for food and desert lions searching for wandering oryx.
Deep within the arid expanse of the Kalahari Desert lies a true anomaly of nature: a land shaped by the unstoppable flow of inland floods to create one of the greatest wildlife havens in Africa. Experience the life-giving might of the Okavango Delta, in all its lush beauty.
The episode begins in the South American rainforest whose rich variety of life forms is used to illustrate the sheer number of different species. Since many are dependent on others for food or means of reproduction, David Attenborough argues that they couldn't all have appeared at once. He sets out to discover which came first, and the reasons for such diversity. He starts by explaining the theories of Charles Darwin and the process of natural selection, using the giant tortoises of the Galapagos Islands (where Darwin voyaged on HMS Beagle) as an example. Fossils provide evidence of the earliest life, and Attenborough travels a vertical mile into the Grand Canyon in search of them.
Bees and ants work selflessly toward a common goal. Bonobos maintain social harmony through sex, while meerkats organize themselves with military-level discipline. What do these creatures all have in common? The basic recognition that their survival hinges on an ability to work and live together.
David Attenborough narrates a documentary looking at the wildlife of the most stunning mountain range in the world, home to snow leopards, Himalayan wolves and Tibetan bears. Snow leopards stalk their prey among the highest peaks. Concealed by snowfall, the chase is watched by golden eagles circling above. On the harsh plains of the Tibetan plateau live extraordinary bears and square-faced foxes hunting small rodents to survive. In the alpine forests, dancing pheasants have even influenced rival border guards in their ritualistic displays. Valleys carved by glacial waters lead to hillsides covered by paddy fields containing the lifeline to the East, rice. In this world of extremes, the Himalayas reveal not only snow-capped mountains and fascinating animals but also a vital lifeline for humanity.
2010 • Nature