Sir David Attenborough joins an archaeological dig uncovering Britain’s biggest mammoth discovery in almost 20 years. In 2017, in a gravel quarry near Swindon, two amateur fossil hunters found an extraordinary cache of Ice Age mammoth remains and a stone hand-axe made by a Neanderthal. Professor Ben Garrod joins the team at DigVentures during the excavation as they try to discover why the mammoths were here and how they died. Could the Neanderthals have killed these Ice Age giants?
Some animals have an extraordinary ability to find their way. The dung beetle, an insect revered by ancient Egyptians, uses the sun, the moon and even the Milky Way to move its prized ball of dung in the right direction. Pigeons are often considered feeble birdbrains, but they have incredible memories that can recall several complex travel routes with amazing accuracy and they even use man-made roads and hedgerows to find the quickest way home.
Liz Bonnin introduces a cast of charismatic animals to reveal the remarkable strategies they use to survive, and even thrive, in winter. For animals this is the toughest time of year, and preparations start early. In autumn, Siberian chipmunks collect food in their cheek pouches to stockpile in their burrows, while caribou make an epic journey to new feeding areas away from the worst weather. With the arrival of winter, the American bobcat has to find its prey beneath deep snow, while an Arctic fox must sniff out its very own frozen ready meal. A sea otter mum keeps her cub warm by blowing air into its coat, while some animals turn white to blend in with the snowy world around them. As winter begins to loosen its grip, an Arctic ground squirrel stirs from an eight-month hibernation and has to woo its mate in just twelve hours, and baby animals emerge to play in the snow before spring's imminent arrival. Along the way, Liz meets some of our most iconic winter animals to uncover the secrets behind their seasonal success stories.
2019 • Nature
Earthflight departs on its grand European tour, using a host of techniques including taking extraordinary footage from microlites as they fly alongside imprinted birds. Among other wonders, cameras soar with cranes and geese over Venice, the white cliffs of Dover and Edinburgh. White storks leave Africa and struggle to reach Istanbul, the gateway to Europe, while cranes take an easier route over the monkey-guarded Rock of Gibraltar. In France, the white horses of the Camargue make a splash around the new arrivals. In Rome, the heat of the city lures 20 million starlings that perform nature's greatest aerial display to outwit peregrines. In Hungary, sand martins grab mayflies from the air; and at Bass Rock, gannets create Britain's greatest natural spectacle as they dive in exquisite slow-motion. The story takes an emotional turn as storks and swallows wait for their partners to return and indulge in a spot of DIY to impress. Finally, geese touch down in Svalbard to raise a family. To protect their young, a squadron of birds assemble to see off polar bears. With views of birds flying over the Loire Valley, London docklands and the bulb fieds of Holland, this is Europe as never before.