Luminous beings, creatures with their own internal light, enchant and astonish us. Anyone who has seen a firefly or a glow-worm cannot help but fall under their spell. The sea at night sparkles as millions of luminous plankton reveal the shapes of dolphins in a truly magical light show. But why do animals produce living light? For centuries we could only marvel at the beauty and the mystery, but now for the first time we can begin to reveal the amazing truth about living lights. It has taken three crucial technological breakthroughs. Firstly, colour cameras have improved dramatically; they are now over 4,000 times more sensitive than a decade ago. The cameras are so sensitive they are revealing startling discoveries that until now we could not see. Secondly, scientists have entered the unknown world of the boundless deep open ocean with the help of a new generation of submersibles and robots. Thirdly, Ammonite Films have invented and built a series of unique cameras that can capture the faintest ephemeral glow of luminous life. By combining these three innovations, this film shows creatures and behaviours never seen before. Sir David Attenborough is our guide as we venture into a new hitherto unseen world. Bioluminescence is everywhere: in the soil, on the land and throughout the oceans. Join Sir David Attenborough and a team of the world's leading scientists and deep sea explorers on a quest to reveal the secrets of living lights.
A seahorse blends perfectly into its coral surroundings, while a male day octopus hides to avoid the female's cannibalistic impulses. Meanwhile, cuttlefish change color to both attract mates and ward off rivals. Explore the Gulf of Oman, a kaleidoscope of color coordination, starring the dazzling masqueraders of the Arabian Sea.
Meet the big birds, a feathered family who have never flown a day in their lives! From ostriches to kiwis, these bizarre birds appear to be nature's greatest novelty act. How they came to be and how they continue to survive is a fascinating tale that has long captivated Sir David Attenborough. It is a story of dedicated dads, enormous eggs and a serious need for speed. And far from being the court jesters of the animal world, these flightless curiosities once nearly ruled the land.
[3 parts] Steve Backshall explores the world of insects and their close relatives, the arachnids and crustaceans, in order to find out more about their habits and secrets. Ch1. Them and Us Steve Backshall explores the connections and relationships humans have with insects and their close relatives, the arachnids and crustaceans. He begins by revealing how huge armies of driver ants give houses a five-star clean-up in Kenya, while in China, silkworm caterpillars are credited with shaping culture and distribution. He also explains that, despite people's perceptions of these creepy-crawlies, mankind could not live without them. Ch2. Making Worlds Steve Backshall explores the influence that insects and their close relatives, the arachnids and crustaceans, have on the planet's many ecosystems. He reveals how the landscape of South America's grasslands has been created almost solely by one team of bugs - grass-cutter ants - while in east Africa, the savannah would quickly become swamped in dung were it not for the activities of a particular beetle. He also contemplates the idea that without one tiny creature, the blue whale could not exist. Ch3. The Secrets to Their Success Steve Backshall explores why an estimated 10 million species of insects are so abundant, and examines the secrets of their success. In Yellowstone National Park, he reveals how teamwork enables a colony of bees to scare off a hungry bear, and he travels to the Swiss Alps to highlight the relationship between ants, wasps and butterflies.
2013 • Nature
David Attenborough concludes his documentary series with a programme about our closest animal relatives, the intelligent great apes, and finds out how their large brains enabled one of their kind, an upright ape, to go on to dominate the planet. David travels to the forests of Borneo to meet a remarkable orangutan with a passion for DIY and a talent for rowing boats. He shifts continent to Africa and takes part in a special nut-cracking lesson with a group of chimps learning survival skills. He discovers how food - and the ways apes find it - has been key to the evolution of our large brains.