Discover how a new awareness of nature is helping to restore ecosystems from Panama to China to Mozambique. See how innovative actions are being taken to repair man-made damage and restore reefs, rivers, animal populations and more.
Dynasties Christmas Special - Macaque: Monkeys in the Mountains. High in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco lives a group of Barbary macaque monkeys. The alpha male, known as Mac, has just battled to win the leadership of the troop. He must now lead and protect them while fending off rivals who still want his crown.
David Harewood narrates a documentary exploring three of the most exotic and remote islands on the planet, beginning with the unique and extraordinary wildlife of Madagascar. As the oldest island on Earth, life has had time to evolve and there are now more unique plants and animals on Madagascar than any other, with footage of ring-tailed lemurs, labord's chameleons and Decken's sifakas.
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.
This instalment is the first of several to concentrate on mammals. The platypus and the echidna are the only mammals that lay eggs (in much the same manner of reptiles), and it is from such animals that others in the group evolved. Since mammals have warm blood and most have dense fur, they can hunt at night when temperatures drop. It is for this reason that they became more successful than their reptile ancestors, who needed to heat themselves externally. Much of the programme is devoted to marsupials (whose young are partially formed at birth) of which fossils have been found in the Americas dating back 60 million years.
Sir David Attenborough chooses his favourite recordings from the natural world that have revolutionised our understanding of song. Each one - from the song of the largest lemur to the song of the humpback whale to the song of the lyrebird - was recorded in his lifetime. When Sir David was born, the science of song had already been transformed by Charles Darwin’s theory of sexual selection: singing is dangerous as it reveals the singer’s location to predators, but it also offers the male a huge reward, the chance to attract a female and pass on genes to the next generation. Hence males sing and females don't. Today, new science in the field of birdsong is transforming those long-held ideas. Scientists are discovering that, in fact, in the majority of all songbird species, females sing - and it is only now they are being properly heard. Through this revelation and others, we can understand that animal songs are marvelous examples of the spectacular survival strategies that species have developed in order to stay alive.
2021 • Nature
In this first episode, he investigates how and why birds communicate, looking at the reasons snipe use their tail feathers to make a very distinctive noise and what's happening when thousands of starlings participate in stunning aerial displays in Aberystwyth.