Watch as birds solve puzzles and challenge our basic notions of intelligence. Call somebody a “bird brain,” and you’re not delivering them a compliment. But as NOVA shows, birds turn out to have advanced problem-solving skills that we usually assume are unique to humans. Watch astonishing tests of avian aptitude: parrots that can plan for the future, jackdaws that can “read” human faces, and crows that can solve multi-step puzzles with tools like pebbles, sticks, and hooks. Could these just be clever tricks based on instinct or triggered by subtle cues from their human handlers? To rule out any doubts, NOVA puts feathered Einsteins through their paces and reveals skills that even three- or four-year-old children have a hard time mastering—such as putting off one reward now to get a bigger one later. From this revolution in thinking about our feathered friends, the conclusion seems irresistible that bird brains see the world in ways that aren’t so different from our own.
Learn how rain transforms the area into a lush grazing pasture, creating an abundance of food. Moderate weather makes it harder for predators, as prey can migrate further. With plenty of food available, mating and birthing seasons have arrived.
Meet the first animal visitors to a new manmade waterhole in the African savannah. Using state-of-the-art cameras, scientists watch as warthogs and elephants discover the new oasis. But things become dangerous when leopards and lions close in.
During the rainy season in Africa, a herd of buffalo can create thousands of pounds of waste in a day, which would be an environmental disaster if not for the dung beetle. These extraordinary insects depend on waste to survive. They eat it, attract mates with it, and raise families in it. Although dung beetles are critical to the ecosystem, they don't have it easy. Every day, they must avoid being trampled, evade predators like bullfrogs, honey badgers, and rock monitor lizards, and rival dung beetle families desperate for the same fecal prize.
2018 • 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.
In the penultimate episode, David Attenborough looks at monkeys. This group started its life in the tree-tops and this is where we join the capuchin, whose acute vision and lively intelligence helps them find clams in the mangrove swamps of Costa Rica and crack them open on tree-anvils. The swamps are also full of biting insects, but the monkeys rub themselves with a special plant that repels them.
David Attenborough meets the tree dwellers - those mammals that have adapted to a life at height. Some, like meerkats, might hardly seem to qualify but they do regularly climb small trees to scout for danger. Others, like gibbons, live 100 feet or more above the forest floor and never descend to the ground.
From the roughest seas to the crystal clear waters of the Florida springs, David Attenborough swims with sea otters and dives with manatees, as he follows those mammals who, millions of years ago, left dry land and returned to the water to feed.
David Attenborough meets the omnivores - the opportunists. When it comes to food, this diverse range of animals, which includes grizzly bears at one end and rats on the other, are so adaptable that they can always make the most of whatever happens to be around at the time. They are nature's generalists but each is equipped with some very specialised skills.
Join Sir David Attenborough in the fifth programme in the series, as he sits beside wild lions in the darkness of the night and meets a Siberian tiger face to face. From the first tree-dwelling hunters through to the modern-day big cats, we follow the true story about cats and dogs to find out what you need to be a true carnivore.
Rodents like rats, mice and squirrels are the most numerous mammals on the planet. This programme reveals how, with their constantly growing, chisel-sharp front teeth, they are specialists in breaking into seeds. It also shows how they have adapted this talent to help them make their homes and even live underground, as well as revealing their ability to store food - and their ability to breed prolifically.
Some of the biggest predators to walk the earth face a constant battle - their prey is heavily armoured, indigestible and sometimes even poisonous. What makes this struggle more remarkable is that these predators do not prey on animals - but on plants.
David Attenborough looks at the mammals that hunt insects. These creatures shared the planet with the dinosaurs, but when the giant reptiles disappeared they seized their chance to conquer new territory. David meets moles that swim through sand, a shrew that hunts underwater and another that sprints down polished running tracks so fast that most predators can't catch it.
120 metres down off the wild coast of South Africa lives an animal once thought to have been extinct for 65 million years - the coelacanth, locally known as Gombessa. A dinosaur fish, a living fossil, that remains the only link connecting fish to terrestrial tetrapods: its fins contain the beginning of reptile and mammal leg bones! And what about the vestigial lung found at the back of its huge mouth? …
2013 • Nature
This episode discusses the human exploration of Antarctica, in particular the mission led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott, whose team died on the way back from the South Pole. It shows the scientific work in the modern human bases in Antarctica, especially Mawson Base and its observation of Adelie Penguins (partially through tracking devices).
As almost all animal inhabitants of Antarctica are forced to migrate north, the sea underneath the frozen ice still provides a home to many specially adapted fish whose cells are protected from freezing through an "antifreeze" liquid. Many of them feed on the faeces of other animals. The most notable larger animal that does not migrate north is perhaps the Weddell Seal, which can be found as close as 1300 kilometres to the pole. Groups of seals tear holes into the ice to dive for food and come up to breathe. The females come back to the ice to give birth.
This episode describes the migration of most animals northwards (some from the Antarctic continent, others from the few islands surrounding it) as the continent and surrounding sea freeze over at the end of summer. It shows how young penguins often fall prey to Leopard Seals as they try to make their way across the already partially frozen water and how their stripped remains become food for isopods and meter-long nemerteans (ribbon worms). Before going to the sea, however, the adult penguins must shed their coats (molting).
Almost all life in the region breeds in summer. A growing colony of fur seals on a beach in South Georgia resembles that of elephant seals shown in the previous episode. The pups grow fast on the rich, fatty milk provided by their mothers and double their weight in just sixty days. As the females become sexually available, the mating season begins and males try to claim territory and mate with females. Like elephant seals, fur seals fiercely attack all competitors.
Elephant seals are the first animals to return to the beaches of the subantarctic islands in spring, forming large breeding colonies, where the males fight fierce battles to gain and retain permanent access to a large number of females. They mate with the females as soon as they are receptive again. Millions of Macaroni Penguins form huge colonies on the islands to breed.
The first episode introduces the viewers to the continent of Antarctica and the surrounding sea and islands, its glaciers and the icebergs that form from it. It describes how the continent changes throughout the seasons, as it effectively doubles in size in winter when the surrounding sea freezes over, "the greatest seasonal change that takes place on this planet".
In this final installment to the series, David Attenborough travels to four unique locations about the globe where an abundance of fossilized plant and animal remains have given us a detailed picture of what life could have been like in prehistoric times. Each of the sites experienced its own set of circumstances which enabled it to preserve many perfect specimens for extraction and analysis. Piecing together the collected evidence, paleontologists have been able to determine early animal hierarchies, their diets and their evolutionary paths.
The world of the armoured creature is equally fascinating and bizarre. Galapagos giant tortoises solve the problem of making love in a suit of armour; a heated sea turtle orgy leaves females in mortal danger and we witness the explosive arrival of a baby pig-nosed turtle. Giant salt-water crocodiles crowd a flooded river-run to fish for mullet and a caiman leads her brood in a touching trek to a communal crèche.
Snakes have developed the ultimate economy of design and are the most elegant and iconic of hunters. Among the incredible species seen here are blind tiger snakes that hunt using their sense of smell, magnificent African spitting cobras and a bizarre turtle-headed sea-snake hunting on a coral reef. And, for the first time ever, cameras capture a snake ambush in the wild and the beautiful spectacle of yellow anacondas giving birth underwater.
Enter the world of the lizard: from the chameleons, masters of the arboreal life to geckos tapping a code to plant-hopper insects and baby pygmy blue-tongued skinks huddling in their burrows long after birth. In the deserts are found some of the most bizarre lizards: baby Bushveld lizards mimicking acid-squirting beetles; the well-armoured and bizarrely spiky; thorny devils and the lizard kings - the Australian monitors - fast, intelligent and efficient hunters.
Showcasing footage from around the world after an unprecedented year, “The Year Earth Changed” is a timely documentary special that takes a fresh new approach to the global lockdown and the uplifting stories that have come out of it. From hearing birdsong in deserted cities and seeing whales in Glacier Bay, to meeting capybara in suburbs across South America, people worldwide have had the chance to engage with nature like never before. In this documentary special, viewers will witness how the smallest changes in human behavior – reducing cruise ship traffic, closing beaches a few days a year, identifying more harmonious ways for humans and wildlife to coexist – can have a profound impact on nature. The documentary, narrated by David Attenborough, is a love letter to planet Earth, highlighting the ways nature’s resiliency and ability to bounce back can give us hope for the future.
2021 • Nature
A cold-blooded creature needs solar power - soaking up the rays but hibernating in winter. We meet frogs that moisturise, jousting tortoises adn frozen turtles that retuen to life. They can be sophisticated creatures like the bubble-messaging saltwater crocodile or the Balearic wall lizard that has a relationship with a flower, but there are the exceptions to teh cold blooded rules such as the teenage tyrannosaurus rex and the largest reptile on earth, the leatherback turtle.
Under the waves and tropical sun, each of Hawaii’s volcanic islands host a unique ocean landscape teeming with biodiversity. But one predator reigns supreme – the shark. With 40 species of shark calling these warm waters home, scientists are seeing new animal behavior around every corner. Whitetip reef sharks “sleep” in tight volcanic tunnels. In the deep water, everything is on the menu for the hunting Tiger shark, from birds to Humpback whales. Hopping from island to island, uncover surprising moments of cooperation, rarely seen hunting tactics and striking insights into these predators of the world’s paradise.
Filmed over two years in a remote part of the Canada. Cameras observe a young female grizzly as she grows into adulthood. Filmed over two years, the documentary features vistas of open plains on the Arctic Circle and frigid rivers in vast mountain ranges. Against the backdrop of the vast Yukon tundra, the climate changes from frigid winter to spring thaw with a brief sunny season in-between. The cast of characters features hulking male grizzlies, mothers and cubs socialising until the salmon runs begin. Female bears must consume enough salmon during this brief time in order to sustain the cubs that will be born during the winter.
2021 • Nature
Chris looks at social intelligence in the animal kingdom and finds out why it is that, for animals, being together means being clever. He looks at how lions hunt in teams and each hold a very specific position, how vampire bats build trust and donor networks through grooming, and how wild wolves first became domesticated and transformed into man's best friend.
Finding somewhere to keep safe is one of the biggest challenges an animal faces. But some animals don't have to find a safe place - they build one. Chris reveals some of the best building animals in the world - a group that is incredibly varied. Accomplished animal architects include everything from beavers to bees and prairie dogs to bowerbirds. They don't only build homes, however - they also make structures to raise their young, store food, catch prey and impress mates. But what can be learnt from their building brilliance?
Chris reveals some of the cleverest animal communicators on the planet. For decades, people have longed to emulate Dr Doolittle and be able to understand what animals are communicating to one another. But their methods often go far beyond the capabilities of our human senses. Now, thanks to dedicated researchers, new science and cutting-edge technology, we're being given a glimpse into the ingenious ways that animals get their message across - that dolphins have individual names for each other, that cuttlefish use covert signals, and that humans can understand apes without even realising it.
Chris investigates how nature's masterminds measure up against human brain power. Looking at a variety of animals, such as ravens, crows, bees and starlings, Chris explores how different animals can use tools, solve complex puzzles, recognise themselves in mirrors and even reason like humans.
Stephen Fry and the zoologist Mark Carwardine follow attempts to move the world's rarest rhinos from a snowy zoo in the Czech Republic, to the expanses of Kenya in the hope that they will breed in the wild. With only eight of these creatures left on earth, the mission becomes a race against time to save the Northern White Rhino from extinction.
As the expedition team near the end of their journey across Micronesia, it's a race against time for the extreme deep divers as they continue their search for new species. As Kate Humble explores the Rock Islands of Palau, Mike DeGruy embarks on a unique training programme. The Newtsuit is an incredible feat of submarine engineering - a bright yellow one-man submersible that Mike has to master before he can venture even deeper into the Pacific abyss.
Off the coast of Micronesia, Kate Humble and her scuba team continue to discover spectacular examples of underwater life. Meanwhile, the deep-sea divers search for previously unseen fish in depths that test the limits of human endurance, but their explorations are hindered by an unexpected equipment failure.
See the extraordinary wildlife and people of the Andes. Pumas hunt guanaco, shape-shifting frogs hide in remote cloud forests and the descendants of Inca build bridges of grass. The world’s driest desert, huge salt lakes and spectacular peaks are all found in the world’s longest mountain range.
Tour the extraordinary wildlife and people of the Himalaya – the highest mountain range on earth. Bizarre snub-nosed monkeys live in frozen forests. Tibetan monks perform ancient rituals high in the mountains whilst snow leopards prowl the mountain sides.
The Rockies stretch 3,000 miles up the length of North America, and are one of the great mountain ranges of the world. These mountains are home not just to cougars, wolverines, wolves, and grizzly bears, but also daredevil wingsuit flyers, which jump from high peaks, and Native Americans, competing in breakneck horse races.
On a high ridge in Newfoundland, Canada, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the borders of an old grove forest, a Red fox, the matron of her family group, gives birth yet again. Follow the pups as they grow and learn to hunt, adapt, and survive. Explore the family dynamic of these clever creatures as bonds are formed. But the vixen knows that not all her cubs will inherit these tall trees, crystal lakes, and the ocean spray. Before the snows come again, she will have to banish some of her offspring for the good of the family. We also hear from scientists in Madison, Wisconsin and Bristol, England, about their studies on urban Red foxes who are facing a much different challenge than their Canadian counterparts. And another scientist tracks how Red foxes are moving out to the Arctic tundra and surviving in one of the harshest landscapes.
Embark on a journey to Spain and Portugal, In Europe’s Carpathian Mountains, the introduction of Bison is helping numerous other species to thrive, while just beyond this mountainous region, Gray Wolves are staging an astonishing return.
In New Zealand the travellers make their way through one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. They are on a journey to find the last remaining kakapo, a fat, flightless parrot which, when threatened with attack, adopts a strategy of standing very still indeed.
On a journey across Africa towards the war-torn Congo, the travellers encounter chimpanzees, gorillas and elephants, but are there any northern white rhinos still alive in the wild? The news is not good but there is some hope in the remarkable project under way to save the black rhino in Kenya.
For the last leg of their journey, the team search for the most iconic animal of them all, the tiger. To find it, they must split up. Wildlife camerawoman Justine Evans and the science team head to the tangled jungles of northern Burma, one of the largest swathes of unbroken forest in Southeast Asia. Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan heads to the only other place in Burma where tigers may still exist, the far south. The forests of Karen State were once home to a thriving population of tigers, but this region has been isolated by war for over 60 years and little is known about the fate of the animals. The team must overcome intense physical hardship and tough field conditions to find the evidence they need to help preserve this unique and largely untouched wilderness. What they discover could change the future of Burma's forests forever.
On the second leg of their journey, wildlife filmmakers Gordon Buchanan and Justine Evans, along with a team of scientists, head deep into the mountains of western Burma. This is where they hope to find the shy sun bear and two of the world's rarest and most beautiful cats: the Asian golden cat and the clouded leopard. Meanwhile, zoologist Ross Piper and the science team are on a mission to create a wildlife survey to present to the government of Burma to persuade them that these forests are so unique they must be protected. High on the forest ridges, Gordon finds evidence to suggest that Burma's wildlife might be in danger. Undercover filming in a border town known as the 'Las Vegas of the jungle' leads to a shocking discovery.
On the first leg of their journey, wildlife filmmakers Gordon Buchanan and Justine Evans set out to discover whether the mountains of western Burma are home to a population of Asian elephants that could prove critical to the survival of the species. Finding elephants in a dense bamboo forest is a challenge. Notoriously grumpy, Asian elephants are likely to charge if caught unaware. It is a race against time as the world eyes up Burma's natural riches - what the team finds could change the future of Burma's wilds forever.
Following extraordinary rumours of tigers living in the mountains of Bhutan, the expedition shifts to high altitude. Cameraman Gordon Buchanan captures remarkable footage of a snow leopard cub from over 5,000 metres in the air. Along the Tibetan border, explorer Steve Backshall treks to the mystical Tiger Mountain, where he has a very close encounter with the world's most elusive predator.
The team pushes further into the jungle wilderness, searching for unusual and endangered animals that live there. Base camp is invaded by scorpions and poisonous centipedes, while Gordon Buchanan discovers an animal thief helping itself to base camp supplies.
Cameras follow the team every sweaty step of the way as they explore the beautiful wilderness of Guyana, from abseiling down one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world to climbing to the very top of the rainforest trees. Known as the land of giants, Guyana is home to the huge anaconda, the world's largest tarantula and giant otters.
Simon discusses the challenge of preserving unspoilt wildernesses, from the icy expanses of Siberia to the tropical forests of central and South America. Simon reflects on how his past series have dealt with the causes and impact of climate change, as well as remembering a memorable report exposing the extent of plastic pollution in the ocean. He also recalls meeting indigenous people around the world and hearing their first-hand experiences of ecological damage.
Cameras travel to the Arctic and Antarctic circles, following chicks in a king penguin colony on the island of South Georgia in the Southern Ocean. On the other side of the world, Spy Walrus discovers a walrus family hauled out on an ice floe, before Spy Gyrfalcon follows the family as they head towards dry land. Elsewhere on Norway's Hornoya island, Spy Puffin follows thousands of male puffins as they gather in the snow and search for their life-long partners.
On Christmas Island, the Spy Crab camera walks among red crabs as they march into the sea, and in Madagascar, cameras follow many of the species of chameleon that live there. Meanwhile on Seal island off the tip of South Africa, Spy Seal Pup finds itself in the midst of the 60,000 cape fur seals that have come ashore to raise their young.
Cameras follow Japanese macaques in the snow-covered mountains of Japan, as they gather at steaming hot thermal pools to bathe and socialise. Elsewhere in the cool mountains of Mexico, cameras capture a spectacular gathering of billions of monarch butterflies, and in Bavaria, Germany, Spy Beaver gains unique access to the secretive world of the beaver.
Leading experts examine a rock in a crate of finds from an archaeological dig in Africa, which could contain a very rare 200-million-year-old dinosaur skull. The museum staff prepares for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards. Other artefacts from the museum featured in this episode include meteorite fragments that are older than the solar system and the oldest complete beetle specimens ever found in the UK.
World-leading dinosaur expert Susie Maidment is in the museum basement trying to piece together the skeleton of the first Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered. It's a priceless specimen but somehow the bones have got muddled up with another dinosaur and it's up to Susie to work out if any of the bits are missing. The experts inspect Guy the gorilla, who was a London Zoo favourite for decades and now sits fully preserved in his own glass case, and the museum launches an ambitious project to capture a sample of every living bug in the UK today.
The museum's dinosaur experts Susie Maidment and Paul Barrett follow up an exciting tip-off about some possible dino footprints in Wales. Meanwhile, the world's most famous dinosaur - Dippy the Diplodocus - is on a road trip around the country and needs an up-close inspection to make sure it's safe.
Every year, five million people visit London's Natural History Museum to see its incredible collection, from extraordinary dinosaurs to giant whales, and rare fossils to space rocks said to be as old as the solar system itself. But only a fraction of the staggering 80 million items in the collection are on display. Here cameras capture some of these incredible specimens, revealing the unique and rare pieces too valuable to exhibit.
This edition follows the plight of some of the youngest and most vulnerable of the mountain gorilla population. Includes the two young orphans whose mothers were callously murdered in execution-style killings, the young female battling with new emotions, and the new gorilla king struggling to keep hold of the group he fought so hard to win. Discover how they cope in this exploration of what the future holds for the remaining last few hundred mountain gorillas.
Titus the gorilla king faces the biggest challenge of his life. He's lived longer and sired more offspring than any other known gorilla, but his time as a great leader may be coming to an end. The mighty silverback has a little orphan in his care - and both their lives hang in the balance. In Uganda, young silverback Marembo is back with his raging hormones and desire to be dominant - he's sure to shake things up a bit.
The largest gorilla family in the world is starting the perilous journey down to feed on the fresh shoots of bamboo. They run the risk of being caught in illegal snares and Cantsbee, the dominant silverback, will have his work cut out keeping them all safe, especially those closest to him. Meanwhile on the other side of the Rwandan volcanoes a young gorilla has been deserted by her mother. She turns to her silverback father for guidance and protection, but is he up to the job? In Uganda, Marembo the teenage silverback has come of age. He has lived 15 years under the watchful eye of dominant silverback Rukina but now feels it is time to make the break on his own.
David Schwimmer explores an underground world of monsters and aliens. The largest gathering of the largest fish on the planet--over four hundred whale sharks--assembles in the same small patch of ocean just off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Why are they here? Mysterious Planet embarks on an epic journey to find out: from the clear blue waters of the Caribbean, into the largest network of flooded caves on Earth, spiritual underworld of a lost civilization, home to monsters and alien life forms ,where a meteorite the size of Manhattan is hurtling towards planet Earth, on course to kickstart the evolution of a whole new line of ocean giants.
David Schwimmer meets some of the strangest creatures on Earth. Komodo Dragons are excellent swimmers who have migrated far from the Komodo Islands in the past. Without the need for any males to reproduce, and one single female could potentially populate an entire island on her own.
A unique celebration of one of Earth's most iconic birds. For the first time, we meet the entire penguin family - all 18 species. This colourful cast of characters may seem familiar, but their incredible diversity won't fail to surprise. New Zealand's lush green forests might not be the first place you would expect to find penguins, but it was here the penguin family first evolved 60 million years ago, and there are now more species living here than anywhere else on earth. One quirky-looking resident is the Snares penguin, which likes nothing more than a spa treatment. In Cape Town, the African penguin has adapted to the modern world, strolling the city streets with all the other commuters. And, against all the odds, one of the smallest members in the family, the Galapagos penguin, has found a way to survive the sweltering heat of the equator. One of the biggest secrets to the penguin success story is their remarkable parenting skills. Adelie penguins perform the longest penguin migration on earth, over 6,000 miles, to find the perfect nesting site. Ninety-nine per cent of them return to the same nests each year, but after a hard winter their stone nests need some serious renovation. Other species are sneakier, stealing their neighbours stones the moment they turn their backs. The fastest penguin on the planet is the gentoo, reaching speeds of 22mph and diving to 200 metres. Short feet that act like rudders and a streamlined body allows them to shoot through the water, while fused muscular wings act like paddles. Penguins are supremely adapted to an aquatic life, spending 75 per cent of their lives in water, but all penguins have to walk at some point, so to get around they have developed the infamous waddle. This bizarre locomotion may look inefficient, but surprisingly it actually works in their favour. Whilst we get 65 per cent of the energy back with each step, penguins can get up to 80 per cent, so the waddle is more efficient that our own walk. Over millions of years, penguins have mastered life on land and in the sea, but we are now changing the planet faster than ever before, and some penguins are struggling to keep up, so technology is being used to locate and observe new colonies from the equator to Antarctica. This is the family penguin as you have never seen them before.
2020 • Nature
A bold experiment to bring fierce African wild dogs back to Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique reveals how predators—and the fear they trigger—play a surprising and crucial role in keeping wild ecosystems healthy. Until recently, the impact of predators on ecosystems was thought to be simple: predators eat prey, keeping their populations in check. But more and more, ecologists are realizing that it’s not all about consumption. In fact, just the presence of predators can cause significant changes in behavior. Scientists call this the “Landscape of Fear,” and in Gorongosa, they are hoping to harness its effects to help bring an ecosystem back from the brink.
Explore how a new understanding of nature is helping us find surprising ways to fix it. From the Pacific Northwest to Yellowstone to Scotland, scientists, citizens and activists are restoring the environment, benefiting humans and animals alike.
Meet slime molds: the brainless blobs that can learn, make decisions, and navigate mazes. Who says you need brains to be smart? Extremely primitive life-forms called slime molds can navigate mazes, choose between foods, and create efficient networks—no brain required. New research on these organisms, which are neither plant nor animal, could help reveal the fundamental rules underlying all decision making.
2020 • Nature
Forget what you think you know about pigs. These remarkable animals have talents we're only beginning to understand. See how pigs have conquered nearly every habitat on Earth, thanks to their remarkable senses, intelligence, and adaptability. From the islands of Indonesia to the beaches of the Bahamas to the frozen tundra of Siberia, meet eight-inch pygmy hogs, cheetah-avoiding warthogs, domesticated pigs with super senses, and more.
2018 • Nature
Going for a dramatic approach, this installment takes a look at the changing world of nature, from the sky to the sea to the sun to the insects to volcanic action to the planet itself. It's nature's strange and intricate designs for survival and her many methods of perpetuating life in this spectacular story. It takes a lot to make nature footage dramatic but here we are and it's quite a sight. It's exciting, beautifully shot and photographed, sometimes a little suspenseful, though it might not look like it at the start of it. Experience nature's Secrets of Life and witness the wonder of it all with this solid and visually splendid True-Life Adventure!
1956 • Nature
For years, researchers have overlooked the naked mole rat, an elusive rodent that lives underground. But now they believe they may help humans live longer, healthier lives. Follow scientists around the globe as they study these remarkable rodents in labs and in their natural habitat, tracking their mating habits, testing their blood, and decoding their genome in an ongoing quest to combat age-related illnesses and even aging itself.
2019 • Nature
Like the Galapagos, Rottnest and its surrounding islands hold secrets that defy reason. Only now will they be revealed with an exclusive and intimate look at the life cycle of the Quokka and the other animals intertwined in their lives on the islands and in the fringing ocean.
One of the world’s happiest, yet most vulnerable marsupials, the Quokka thrives only on Rottnest Island. In almost plague proportions over ten thousand of the strange relic wallabies live here. How do they survive here in such inhospitable conditions and nowhere else?
With a million species at risk of extinction, Sir David Attenborough explores how this crisis of biodiversity has consequences for us all, threatening food and water security, undermining our ability to control our climate and even putting us at greater risk of pandemic diseases. Extinction is now happening up to 100 times faster than the natural evolutionary rate, but the issue is about more than the loss of individual species. Everything in the natural world is connected in networks that support the whole of life on earth, including us, and we are losing many of the benefits that nature provides to us. The loss of insects is threatening the pollination of crops, while the loss of biodiversity in the soil also threatens plants growth. Plants underpin many of the things that we need, and yet one in four is now threatened with extinction. Last year, a UN report identified the key drivers of biodiversity loss, including overfishing, climate change and pollution. But the single biggest driver of biodiversity loss is the destruction of natural habitats. Seventy-five per cent of Earth's land surface (where not covered by ice) has been changed by humans, much of it for agriculture, and as consumers we may unwittingly be contributing towards the loss of species through what we buy in the supermarket. Our destructive relationship with the natural world isn’t just putting the ecosystems that we rely on at risk. Human activities like the trade in animals and the destruction of habitats drive the emergence of diseases. Disease ecologists believe that if we continue on this pathway, this year’s pandemic will not be a one-off event.
2020 • Nature
While the pandemic restricts our movements, wildlife remains free. In this time of crisis, the natural world can be a source of solace and escape. In the most extreme of environments, from the hottest deserts to the freezing poles, from the highest mountains to underwater kingdoms, animals overcome adversity to survive and thrive, offering a message of hope to humanity. To raise our spirits, join Sir David Attenborough on a round-the-world trip to the wildest places on earth to see some of the most spectacular wildlife. The BBC Natural History Unit has brought together the most astounding stories from the Bafta-winning Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II to create the ultimate escape. The journey is accompanied by a thrilling new musical score, created by renowned composers Hans Zimmer and Jacob Shea, performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and featuring Mercury Prize winner Dave on the piano.
2020 • Nature
The endearing pangolin is a little-known scaly mammal. Found in Africa and Asia, these shy creatures have an unfortunate tagline - they are the most poached and illegally trafficked animals in the world. Based in Namibia, conservationist Maria Diekmann rescues and rehabilitates her local pangolins. In a bid to better understand the global issues they are facing, we follow Maria to Vietnam, Thailand and China into the very heart of the crisis, where demand for pangolin products is greatest. In what turns out to be an emotional journey, Maria joins forces with a Chinese megastar to build a campaign to bring awareness to the plight of an animal most people have never even heard of.
Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs in a fiery global catastrophe. But we know little about how their successors, the mammals, recovered and took over the world. Now, hidden inside ordinary-looking rocks, an astonishing trove of fossils reveals a dramatic new picture of how rat-sized creatures ballooned in size and began to evolve into the vast array of species.
In their vast and unforgiving home of the Namib Desert, meerkats rely on their companions to watch their backs. Only together can they find the strength and resources to defeat the odds stacked against them. One young female is forced from her group after a brutal attack.
2020 • Nature
Sri Lanka, the tropical island lying off the southern coast of India, is home to its own special elephants. A subspecies of the Asian elephant, they have their own unique characteristics. In this programme, award-winning wildlife cameraman Martyn Colbeck of Echo of the Elephants fame travels to Sri Lanka to try and get to know them. Martyn has planned his arrival to coincide with the start of the monsoon, hoping it will be the best time to find and follow a newborn calf. By drawing on local knowledge, Martyn begins to unravel the complex social world of Sri Lanka's elephants - he witnesses a fight over a calf, a battle between two bulls in musk and, at an elephant sanctuary, befriends an orphaned elephant who sadly lost a leg to a snare and is facing an uncertain future.
The beautiful, mysterious world of rain is visualized using the latest filming technology. Ultra-high speed cameras capture breathtaking images in Odaigahara, the rainiest area in Japan that receives an annual rainfall of 5,000 millimeters. On the ground form lakes that only appear after summer heavy rains, allowing rare frogs to thrive. In winter, a unique natural phenomenon called Glazed Frost takes place if rain falls unfrozen and the air temperature is below zero. Through poetic cinematography, we discover just how rain enriches the natural beauty in Japan, a country unusually blessed with rain.
2009 • Nature
The remarkable story of 43-year-old Sudan, the very last male northern white rhino on the planet. Aged just three, Sudan was snatched from his mother's side in Central Africa. He became a prized exhibit in a zoo behind the Iron Curtain, while the rest of his kind was poached to extinction in the wild. Today, Sudan has become an unwitting celebrity and the focus of a desperate eleventh hour battle to save his sub-species. This astonishing modern-day fable is told through the international cast of characters who have been involved in Sudan's life, for better and for worse.
There is an electric grid submerged deep within the Amazon River, made up of a fascinating community of fish that have technological superpowers. Biologist Will Crampton ventures into this world, one which few have ever seen, on a mission to find, catch, and study electric fish. Armed with his own electric devices, join him as he uncovers the fighting style of the jaw lockers, the navigational skills of the knifefish, and the remarkable hunting technique of the electric eel.
2015 • Nature
In the Kalahari Desert, lions grow to be the size of grizzly bears--and they have appetites to match. These big cats need big prey to survive, but hunting giants isn't easy, even for the king of beasts. Follow the unique pride that rules over this desert empire during the worst drought in decades and see how they strategize and use their might to dominate their prey. Dry season is usually a windfall for lions, but this year, it will push these apex predators to the brink.
2017 • Nature
A look at wildlife in hostile environments, including glow-worms, condors, thorny devils, emperor penguins and polar bears. High in the mountains, deep underground, out in the deserts and at each of our vast frozen poles, animals have had to develop extraordinary resilience to survive. There are many challenges faced by animals living in extreme environments. Superbly adapted to these inhospitable habitats, their fortitude and resilience.
Forests and woodlands are the green lungs of the Earth and vital to mankind's survival. The air we breathe, the timbers we build with... the medicines we take. The list of benefits they provide is exhaustive. As is the list of other animals making a meal of these resource-rich environments.
In Jungle Animals, viewers encounter gorillas and orangutans, killer pythons, delightful monkeys from three continents, awe-inspiring tigers and millions of land-dwelling red crabs. This episode explores Australia, the islands of Southeast Asia, Africa and the Amazon.
The jungles of the sacred city of Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka are home to 33 identified troops of toque macaques and one man. This is the extraordinary story of Dr. Wolfgang Dittus, a scientist from the Smithsonian Institution who, over decades, has tracked and documented the lives of thousands of monkeys, revealing a complex society that is in many ways like our own. His journey is captured through his own words, footage he's taken over the course of 50 years, and his interactions with the scrappy, cheeky monkeys he's dedicated his life to.
2018 • Nature
Eagles are the most powerful birds in the sky, capable of tackling enormous prey, spotting food at vast distances and soaring for miles on the wing. Armed with cutting-edge filming technology, this documentary examines the science behind such extraordinary abilities. Featuring dramatic stories and some remarkable experiments, the film follows the story of a family of bald eagles in Iowa as two chicks face the challenges of life in the wild. Plus, bird specialist Lloyd Buck puts his trained golden eagle Tilly's skills to the test.
In the second of this two-part series, Colin Stafford-Johnson continues his journey in Cuba, one of the most captivating islands in the world. Here, he encounters bats emerging from a labyrinth of limestone caves to feed on nectar from giant hibiscus flowers, and tiny frogs, smaller than a fingernail, living in patches of hidden emerald forest. And on the white sand beaches, baby green turtles emerge from their nests to make their way to the sparkling Caribbean Sea.
Colin Stafford-Johnson journeys through one of the most bewitching islands in the world, featuring the wildlife and wild places that make it so special. In the first part of this two-part mini-series, Colin explores corners of Cuba that few outsiders have seen. Amongst the wonders he encounters is the bee hummingbird, the world’s tiniest bird, found nowhere else on the planet, and the spectacle of thousands of crabs migrating en masse.
[6 parts merged into one] Featuring groundbreaking new science, experiments and leading scientists from a variety of disciplines, the series unravels the natural history of the body's largest organ. Skin is an incredible, multi-function organ that science is still learning so much about. It has adapted to allow animals to conquer virtually every habitat on the planet.
2019 • Nature
Otters are playful, adaptable and champion swimmers - they've captivated cameraman Charlie Hamilton James for the last 25 years. He's filmed them more than anyone else and now, through the eyes of three orphaned river otters, a set of groundbreaking experiments and some incredible wild encounters, Charlie wants to reveal their survival secrets and exactly why he believes they're so special.
In southern Africa, a pride of lions has rewritten the rules - by learning to take down elephants. In this follow up to Africa's Giant Killers, we join the pride at the start of the rainy season. As the elephants depart, a catalogue of dramatic events unfolds. The pride males turn against each other, an inexperienced mum puts her new born cubs in mortal danger, a rival group of lions challenge the pride for its territory and, when lightning strikes, fires burn day and night. When the dust eventually settles, the pride is left with only one choice - to face their old foe the elephants or risk starvation. The final showdown awaits.
Deep in the rainforest of Central Africa lies an elephant oasis - a remarkable place that holds the key to the future for forest elephants. Over the last 20 years, Andrea Turkalo has been studying these enigmatic giants, getting to know over 4,000 intimately. She has begun to unravel the secrets of their complex social lives and the meanings of their unique vocalisations. New acoustic research is shedding light on the many mysteries that still surround forest elephant society. Will these endangered elephants finally speak out and tell Andrea what it is they need to survive?
Discover the evolutionary secrets of some of the world’s most majestic creatures. From voracious crocodiles and acrobatic birds to stupendous whales and majestic elephants, WHEN WHALES WALKED follows top scientists on a global adventure as they follow clues from the fossil record and change what we thought we knew about the evolution of iconic beasts.
2019 • Nature
In the 1990s, one million chimpanzees lived across Central Africa. Since then, habitat loss, hunting for bushmeat, and the exotic pet trade has caused their population to crash to just 200,000. But on Ngamba Island, a semi-wild sanctuary just off the coast of Uganda's Lake Victoria, a team of caregivers is dedicated to giving them another chance in life. Visit this remarkable safe haven, where victims--most arriving as orphaned babies--recover from mental trauma, form a new family, and learn how to be chimps.
2019 • Nature
A look across Hawaii's varied islands, discovering how they were made, and how its wildlife thrives. The most remote island chain on Earth, its tropical shores are hard to reach. However, for the hardy creatures that have made it there, such as the waterfall-climbing fish, carnivorous caterpillar and Laysan albatross, a land of opportunity awaits. From newly formed lava fields, to lush jungles, and vibrant coral reefs, these diverse and beautiful islands have it all. As this documentary reveals, its people are looking to the future and attempting to protect and foster its flora and fauna.
In the heart of south-east Asia lies the tropical island of Borneo. Twice the size of the British Isles, it is the third largest island on earth and home to possibly the greatest diversity of life of any island. Its huge variety of habitats, from bustling coral reefs and ancient jungles to towering mountains, have given rise to more than 60,000 species of plants and animals - many found nowhere else on Earth. This documentary covers Borneo's rich abundance of wildlife, from frogs to orang-utans.
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.
David Attenborough narrates the story of Rodrigo Medellin. Since he first kept vampire bats in his bathroom as a child, Rodrigo has dedicated his life to saving them. Now Mexico's most famous export, tequila, is at stake. Rodrigo's beloved lesser long-nosed bat is crucial to the liquor - pollinating the plants the drink is made from. To save both, Rodrigo must track the bats' epic migration across Mexico - braving hurricanes, snakes, Mayan tombs and seas of cockroaches. The threats are very real for not only Rodrigo and the bats, but also for anyone with a taste for tequila.
Also known as "The Best of Seven Worlds, One Planet". The most spectacular moments from the Seven Worlds, One Planet series that highlights the incredible rich and wonderful diversity of life found on our planets seven unique continents. Millions of years ago huge forces ripped apart the Earth's crust, creating seven distinct continents. Over time, each one developed its own remarkable wildlife. We see the extraordinary variety of life found in South America and visit the largest of all continents - Asia, so big it still hides rarely seen creatures. We explore the cities of Europe, full of surprises, and the wilds of Africa, home to the greatest gatherings of animals. We travel to the searing heat of Australia with its weird and wonderful wildlife, and witness the pioneering animals of North America that make the most of every opportunity. Finally, we venture to the frozen wilderness of Antarctica were, on the most hostile continent of all, life manages to thrive against the odds. And we reveal how today the biggest challenge faced by wildlife is the impact of human activity on all seven of our incredible continents.
From the mighty grizzly bear to the endearing real life Paddington, the spectacled bear, and Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book's Baloo, the sloth bear, this remarkable animal family has long captured our imagination. As some of the largest animals on earth, they need more than just the 'bare necessities' to survive - especially in today’s ever-changing world. This film explores how bears across the world have overcome the challenges of life - from finding food and raising the cubs to confronting rivals and habitat loss - all thanks to brains, brawn and a remarkable ability to adapt.
Chris Packham aims to raise enough money to plant 100,000 trees across Britain, by asking viewers to contribute to The Woodland Trust. Martin Hughes-Games, JB Gill and Clare Nasir also take a closer look at the science of trees, exploring how they can lower carbon emissions, fight flooding and reduce pollution.
2019 • Nature
This crowded continent hides the most surprising animals in pockets of wilderness. Above Gibraltar, Europe’s only primate lives a life of kidnapping and high drama, whilst in the cemeteries of Vienna grave robbing European hamsters do battle with each other. Come nightfall, the Italian mountain villages are the hunting grounds for rarely seen wolves, whilst lynx lurk in the forests of Spain. Deep underground in Slovenia’s caves, baby dragons live for up to a hundred years. Meanwhile, on the surface the continent has been developed beyond recognition.
Australia, a land cast adrift at the time of the dinosaurs. Isolated for millions of years, the weird and wonderful animals marooned here are like nowhere else on Earth. In its jungles a cassowary - one of the most dangerous birds in the world – stands six feet tall. Inland, kangaroos and wombats brave snowstorms and gum tree forests are filled with never-before-seen predators. In its red desert heart, reptiles drink through their skin and huge flocks of wild budgerigars swirl in search of water. On secret islands Tasmanian devils roam and offshore, thousands of sharks gather for a rare event.
South America - the most species rich continent on Earth. From the volcanoes of the Andes to the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon, animals here must specialise to carve out a niche. In Patagonia, a puma mother draws on a lifetime’s experience to catch prey three times her weight. In the cloud forest, rarely seen Andean bears clamber thirty metres into the canopy to find elusive fruit. Poison dart frogs use ingenious methods to keep their tadpoles safe, whilst anacondas stalk capuchin monkeys. At Igauzu, swifts make death-defying flights through one of the biggest waterfalls on Earth.
Asia - the most varied and extreme continent - stretching from the Arctic Circle to the equator. Walrus gather in huge numbers in the frozen north and brown bears roam remote Russian volcanoes. This is a world of the rarely seen, from yeti-like monkeys in the mountain forests of China to the most bizarre predator in the baking deserts of Iran. Asia is the largest of all continents but it seems there’s not enough space for wildlife. The deep jungles provide sanctuary for the last few Sumatran rhino.
Antarctica - the coldest, windiest, most hostile continent. Only the toughest can survive here. From Weddell seals that grind back the ice with their teeth, to colourful starfish carpeting the seabed beneath the ice. Huge colonies of king penguins crowd any ice-free land, and four tonne elephant seals fight for territory on the beach. Life comes here because the ocean that surrounds the continent is incredibly rich. Thousands of penguins, seals, albatross, and over a hundred great whales feast on krill baitballs. However, the ocean here is warming and with that comes an uncertain future. (Number of days filming: 236)
Todd trains hard to improve his body intelligence, visualization skills, and emotional intelligence before attempting a super-human feat. He faces his greatest fear - being chained, handcuffed and blindfolded underwater with only his radically improved brain to help him escape.
Members of the weasel family are often portrayed as the villains of the natural world, but do they deserve this reputation? By following the adventures of a tiny orphaned weasel named Twiz, this film reveals the true nature of these pocket-sized predators, which relative to their size have a bite more powerful than a tiger’s. In Yorkshire, a unique garden rigged with over 50 cameras gives a rare insight into the dramatic life of a mother stoat as she tries to raise her first family. And new science uncovers the problem-solving abilities of the honey badger, the secrets behind the ferret’s legendary flexibility, and the remarkable sense of smell of the wolverine. Together, using their extraordinary skills, this feisty and fearless family have conquered the planet.
Explore the stark landscape, frigid sea, and wild animals in one of the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth. National Geographic Pristine Seas Explorer-in-residence Enric Sala leads a group of scientists on the first international scientific expedition to Franz Josef Land. His team works with Russia's most formidable biologists, geomorphologists and ornithologists to understand how climate change is affecting this remote ecosystem. From diving in subzero temperatures to running away from polar bears to avoiding titanic icebergs, the Pristine Seas team faces some of its most dangerous challenges to date.
2015 • Nature
The wildlife and environments of this Latin American wonder are the most diverse and inspiring that anyone could wish to explore. Up until now its glories have been often overlooked… whilst trouble made the headlines. For the first time this cinematic series will reveal Colombia's wild lands, wild life and the people who, everyday, are a part of it. Like the amazing creatures of Colombia the humans have battled, overcome, adapted and embraced the environments around them. Many people have become an integral part of the ecosystem others work selflessly to safeguard it. This film celebrates nature's diversity and will also be a timely wake up call for all people to protect the creatures and respect the habitats that are Colombia's wondrous wild treasures. Through artful photography and exceptional access, the film will explore the nature of Colombia at it most extreme and spectacular and at its most delightful and uplifting. A film of natural stories, striking splendour and surprising charm that will unveil a wild Colombia you wont forget.
2016 • Nature
The island of Barro Colorado in the Panama Canal is full of mysteries, some involving the wide diversity of wildlife, and some involving the island itself. Every year, hundreds of scientists and students come here to uncover the rainforest's secrets, but this year is very different. The island is running dry and no one knows why. Follow several research teams as they observe, experiment, and conduct research in this pristine habitat, and most pressing of all, try to find out what happened to the rain and when it will come again.
2016 • Nature
Cheetahs are not your standard big cats, they differ from the others in many ways. First, cheetahs are daytime hunters with eyesight optimized for open landscape and distant prey. Second, They're possibly the fastest land animals that have ever lived.
Like most big cats, the leopard is a master of secrecy. It's one of the hardest of all big cats to see, let alone observe. This is mainly because leopards need absolute invisibility to hunt. This is why they're such good climbers and why they evolved to be so incredibly secretive.
Pumas are also known by the names of cougar or mountain lion. However, these cats are only distantly related to lions. They're much more closely related to cheetahs. And while pumas are often found in mountains, they're just as at home in the lowlands, dense forests, or deserts.
Siberian tigers are the largest of all cats. In historic times, the tiger's range was vast, covering much of Asia. Over the last century, they've experienced an almost total population crash, and at least 97% of those tigers have gone.
Life in the sea rebounded with a vengeance in the Devonian. Dozens of monstrous predators emerged, like the 40-foot long Dunkleosteus. Nearly everything was wiped out in Earth’s second mass extinction. But the stage was set for an explosion of life on land.
For nearly 4 billion years, the continents of Earth were a lifeless wasteland. But beneath the sea, our planet was teeming with life. Many strange creatures evolved, from eel-like conodonts to voracious cephalopods, until nearly all life was wiped out in our planet’s first mass extinction.
Professor David Scheel takes an octopus into his home to learn about its intelligence and the extraordinary relationship he and his daughter develop with the creature. Named Heidi, the octopus is seen unravelling puzzles, recognising individual humans and even watching TV with the family. The film also looks at the remarkable behaviour of other octopuses around the world, from those that can change their colour and texture in a split second to the octopus that carries around its own coconut shell to hide in.
With scientist Kerisha Kntayya, Judi joins a crocodile hunt with a difference. Kerisha plucks young crocodiles out of the water. Judi then joins Kerisha's team as they wrestle an adult croc as part of the study Kerisha hopes will help save these prehistoric creatures. Judi, who's had a fascination with bats from an early age, also explores the Gomantong cave, home to more than a million bats.
She experiences the rainforest for the first time travelling to the heart of the island with expert Glen Reynolds, before observing orangutans in the wild and learning how they are helping to prevent global warming. She then journeys down Borneo's Kinabatangan river and along the island's coastline to explore the unique wildlife that lives in this threatened environment.
In the wilds of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, a mother moose tends to her newborn calf. Spring is in full swing, but this far north, winter is never far away and, with hungry bears and wolves for neighbours, many challenges lie ahead. Local cameraman Hugo Kitching knows this only too well, but he is determined to follow the mother and calf through the four seasons. What unfolds is a very intimate story, and when Hugo finds a second moose calf born late in the year, things take an unexpected and dramatic turn.
This film is a unique production that reveals the beauty of Romania as it is, raw, magical but fragile at the same time. In the heart of Europe, there is a fabulous wildlife, rich in biodiversity, home to numerous wild animals. The endless mountain peaks and river streams, ancient forests, all provide home to various creatures. Their lives are dictated by the seasons of these lands of beauty. It's a never ending battle for survival and Untamed Romania will tell their stories. Who will survive the trials of life in this ever changing environment?
2018 • Nature
David Attenborough reveals the life of the hippopotamus as never seen before. With incredible underwater footage, this film delves into the world of the hippo – an animal that cannot swim yet is utterly dependent on water. In Botswana's Okavango delta, hippos face an unparalleled challenge - deep floodwaters dry to dust in a matter of months. In one extraordinary season, the team go beneath the surface to see them protect their families and face their enemies as they deal with the drought. Going far beyond their dangerous reputation, the show discovers the true nature of the hippo, an animal that is compassionate, sensitive and highly intelligent.
A look at how a dung beetle standing on its head can roll a ball in a straight line; if egrets ever regret hanging out next to hungry alligators; and what ghostly creature was caught on camera 3000 feet below the ocean's surface.
Helen Macdonald traces the dramatic journey of Britain's greatest river, the Tay, over an entire year. Mixing natural history, cutting-edge science and historical biography with a spectacular travelogue, the film is a celebration of our largest river as it transforms from melting Highland snow to a vast torrent flowing into the cold North Sea.
2019 • Nature
The Tyrannosaurus Rex is known as the king of the dinosaurs, but how did its reign begin? Meet Moros Intrepidus, a 180 lb., deer-sized ancestor to the T-Rex. Learn how the latest in paleontology can now link this small dinosaur to the 19,000-pound Scotty, the largest T-Rex ever discovered.
Squirrels are among the most widely known and recognized mammals in the world. Living in an extraordinarily diverse range of habitats, some can fly, some can swim, some live in trees or underground, others love icy wastelands or burning hot deserts.
2019 • Nature
Every year, the painted lady butterflies undertake a mysterious migration. This discreet journey covers thousands of kilometers and triggers puzzles that scientists are still trying to understand today. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, we will track the butterflies on their journey.
Richard Hammond continues his exploration of weird and wonderful animal abilities by focusing on super-senses, and discovers how those same animal senses have inspired some unlikely human inventions. Richard gets buried in a Californian gold mine, attempts to talk to a rattlesnake by telephone, and is taken for a ride by a monster truck that drives itself. Along the way, he encounters elephants who can talk to each other through solid rock; seals who use their whiskers to sense the shape, size, speed and direction of an object that passed over thirty seconds earlier; and a blind cyclist who relies on fruit bats to get him safely down a twisting mountain bike trail.
The Auckland Islands are an isolated archipelago of islands far south of New Zealand. They might seem bleak, but they are a surprising sanctuary for wildlife. In summer, hordes of giant sea lions descend upon a desolate beach, and testosterone-driven males begin bloody battles for mating rights. When the pregnant females return to give birth on the beach, chaos ensues. The pups are always in danger of being squashed by overly eager males. Some of the rarest penguins on the planet, the yellow-eyed penguins, are also breeding here and must constantly evade the huge brawling male sea lions. Southern royal albatross, giant petrels and skuas are other species that go to extremes to ensure their offspring’s survival. The drama of summer in the sub-Antarctic islands peaks as the sea lion pups dare to take their very first ocean swims.
2019 • Nature
David Attenborough reveals that the animal inhabitants of this vast wilderness are every bit as extraordinary as they are bizarre. Unearthly calls of the notorious Tasmanian devil echo through the land, but following them over the course of a year reveals a surprisingly gentle side. In the dry east, rare white wallabies graze on the plains and jack jumper ants build huge nests – these venomous ants are amongst the most dangerous on earth. In the west, where it can rain nearly every day of the year, caves light up with the magical spectacle of thousands of glow-worms, and the trees are 100-metre towering monsters. Rivers are home to the peculiar platypus, and world’s largest freshwater invertebrate, the Tasmanian giant lobster. Miniature penguins come ashore to breed, and as winter approaches, the southern lights dance in the sky. Tasmania’s isolation and unique climate has created a world that is as weird as it is wonderful.
Vultures are the birds that many people love to hate, but cameraman and naturalist Charlie Hamilton James sees them as beautiful and intelligent creatures that deserve respect. He believes that to appreciate them, people just need to spend time with them and he headed to East Africa to do exactly that. His journey exposes not only a softer, more caring side to these maligned birds but also a much bigger story, one that leaves vultures needing many more admirers.
In Tokyo, there are unapproachable "lost islands" where unspoiled environs cradle rich wildlife. Sofugan is a 100-meter-high solitary rock pillar standing in the ocean 650km south of the capital city's center. Remote and difficult to access, it had never been explored in detail. A group of scientists and engineers set out on a two-year survey. This program records their journey, along with the creatures they discover - from unusual species amongst the rugged rocks to mysterious marine life in the surrounding deep sea.
2019 • Nature
There is no greater test for life than winter, as temperatures plummet to 70 below and winds reach 200kph. Darkness and ice extend across the polar regions and only a few remarkable survivors gamble on remaining. We join a female polar bear trekking into the Arctic mountains to give birth as the first blizzards arrive. Out on the frozen ocean, the entire world's population of spectacled eider ducks brave the winter in a giant ice hole kept open by ferocious currents. Arctic forests transform into a wonderland of frost and snow - the scene of a desperate and bloody battle between wolf and bison, but also where a remarkable alliance between raven and wolverine is made. Beneath the snow lies a magical world of winter survivors. Here tiny voles dodge the clutches of the great grey owl, but cannot escape the ultimate under-show predator - the least weasel. Midwinter and a male polar bear wanders alone across the dark, empty icescape. Below the snow, polar bear cubs begin life in an icy den while fantastical auroras light the night skies above. In Antarctica, we join male emperor penguins in their darkest hour, battling to protect precious eggs from fierce polar storms. Weddell seals escape to a hidden world of jewel-coloured corals and alien-looking creatures but frozen devastation follows as sinister ice stalactites reach down with deadly effect.
Spring arrives in the polar regions, and the sun appears after an absence of five months; warmth and life return to these magical ice worlds - the greatest seasonal transformation on our planet is underway. Male Adelie penguins arrive in Antarctica to build their nests - it takes a good property to attract the best mates and the males will stop at nothing to better their rivals! But these early birds face the fiercest storms on the planet. In the Arctic, a polar bear mother is hunting with her cubs. Inland, the frozen rivers start to break up and billions of tons of ice are swept downstream in the greatest of polar spectacles. This melt-water fertilizes the Arctic Ocean, feeding vast shoals of Arctic cod and narwhal. The influx of freshwater accelerates the breakup of the sea-ice - an area of ice the size of Australia will soon vanish from the Arctic. On land, a woolly bear caterpillar emerges from the snow having spent the winter frozen solid. Caterpillars normally become moths within months of hatching, but life is so harsh here that the woolly bear takes 14 years to reach adulthood. Once mature it has only days to find a mate before it dies! Alongside the caterpillars white Arctic wolves race to raise their adorable cubs before the cold returns.
It is an unexpected and contrasting journey through America's iconic and varied landscapes as the Mississippi flows from source to mouth. The Mississippi's greatest surprise is its incredible reach. Its fingers stretch into nearly half of the USA, collecting water from 31 states. More than any other, this one river has helped unite the many and varied parts of America.
For a river that conjures up images of pyramids and pharaohs, the Nile turns out to be a truly surprising river that changes at every twist and turn of its journey. As its flows into increasingly arid latitudes on its journey north it becomes an evermore vital lifeline for animals and people, but only if they can conquer the challenges that this ever-changing river throws at them.
As the first animal to be domesticated, pigeons have a story to tell. A drama filled, steeped-in-history, amazing story. Although they’ve faded into the background of city life, pigeons have made an incredible contribution to human history. For centuries, we relied on them for everything from food, to vital communications, to entertainment to modern day brain science. They deserve more respect! The ones you see on city streets today are the descendants of domestic birds. Their gritty urban lives are spent trying to evade all manner of perils…and… stay one step ahead of starvation, a constant threat. To survive where they’re not wanted, pigeons rely on a combination of charity from a few and their own incredible smarts…. In a series of fascinating experiments and carefully placed cameras, we take you inside their perilous world; in the air, on the street and in the nest. One of the first things to notice is just how incredibly smart they are.
In an effort to outwit raccoons, are we pushing their brain development and perhaps even sending them down a new evolutionary path? Using high-definition, infrared cameras that turn pitch dark into daylight; we take viewers deep inside a world that was once shrouded in mystery – to gain new insights and understanding about a species that is far more elusive and wily than most people ever imagined. “There is a lot we don’t know, and the more we’ve looked at raccoons, the harder they are to understand.” — Stan Gehrt, Wildlife Biologist & Internationally recognized raccoon expert
The leatherback sea turtle is a magnificent creature that can be found in Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. This ancient species swims faster, travels further, and dives deeper than any other reptile on the planet. In the Atlantic, they migrate every year from their nesting grounds in the Caribbean to the chilly waters off the east coast of Canada where they feast on jellyfish. This epic annual journey – at a staggering 12,000 km – is the longest for any reptile in the world.
A Dog’s Life reveals how our best friends perceive the world - from the moment they take their first morning walk to the time they curl up at our feet to go to sleep. We accompany Daisy, a Jack Russell Terrier, through an average day and on the way discover that, while dogs are not miniature humans, they are amazingly well adapted to life with us. But how well do we know them? A Dog’s Life explores the widely assumed facts that may actually be based on faulty and out-dated research. Is your dog really like a wolf? Does she need you to be the “alpha” dog, so she knows where to fit into your pack? Do they really see in black and white? Is it true that dogs have an amazing sense of direction?
Part wolf, part coyote this new hybrid species is the subject of a startlingly beautiful new film called Meet the Coywolf. A documentary that will both shock and amaze you. Coywolves emerged from a thin strip of land at the southern end of Algonquin Park less than a hundred years ago. Their arrival on the scene marks a rare event, the creation of a brand new hybrid species. A formidable wild animal that has spread across North America at an unprecedented pace, returning a new top predator to territories once roamed by wolves. Zoologist Roland Kays of the New York State Museum has been tracking these new creatures and describes them as having "a coyote like skull with wolf like teeth".
Is it possible that plants are smarter than we think? They are among the world's oldest and most successful organisms and represent some of the strangest and longest living life forms on the planet. Stunningly diverse, plants have served us in many critical ways, from providing food, shelter and clothing to life-saving medicine. And yet we know very little about them. A luscious exploration of the natural world, Smarty Plants effortlessly integrates pioneering science with a light hearted look at how plants behave, revealing a world where plants are as busy, responsive and complex as we are. From the stunning heights of Utah's Great Basin Desert to the rainforests of Canada's west coast, Smarty Plants follows lead scientist and ecologist JC Cahill as he treks the green world and discovers that plants are a lot more like animals than we ever imagined. The world he reveals is one where plants eavesdrop on each other, talk to their enemies, call in insect allies to fight those enemies, recognize their relatives and nurture their young.
Thanks to a recent remarkable discovery in the BBC's film vaults, the best of David Attenborough's early Zoo Quest adventures can now be seen as never before, in colour, and with it the remarkable story of how this pioneering television series was made. First broadcast in December 1954, Zoo Quest was one of the most popular television series of its time and launched the career of the young David Attenborough as a wildlife presenter. It completely changed how viewers saw the world, revealing wildlife and tribal communities that had never been filmed or even seen before. Broadcast ten years before colour television was seen in the UK, Zoo Quest was thought to have been filmed in black and white, until now. Using this extraordinary new-found colour film, together with new behind-the-scenes stories from David Attenborough and cameraman Charles Lagus, this special showcases the very best of Zoo Quest to West Africa, Zoo Quest to Guiana and Zoo Quest for a Dragon in stunning HD colour for the very first time.
2016 • Nature
Our body is a true time machine. It is a mirror of the history of the living world. If an engineer today had to fabricate the ideal human, he would most likely not design us the way we are currently made. He would go to the most logical, the most efficient, the most rational; and when you look closely, this is not always what characterizes us.
Without water, a human can only survive for about 100 hours. But there’s a creature so resilient that it can go without it for decades. This 1-millimeter animal can survive both the hottest and coldest environments on earth, and can even withstand high levels of radiation. Thomas Boothby introduces us to the tardigrade, one of the toughest creatures on Earth.
France is known for its delicious food and wines, great art and architecture and celebrated culture of all kinds. But there’s another side to this popular destination that is not as visible, its wild side. Deep in the French countryside, it is possible for the adventurous to spot brown bears, wild boar, griffon vultures or wolves.
On the other side of the world under the crystal clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean lies one of the most enchanting places on the planet. Over ten thousand miles away on the north eastern coast of Australia lies the Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of our world. It provides shelter to some hidden wildlife sanctuaries that contain some magical marine creatures. Iolo Williams dives deep beneath the surface of the coral sea to discover what state this natural wonder is in. He travels from the extreme swells of the northern part of the reef right down to the cooler pristine corals of the south. He discovers how healthy the Great Barrier Reef really is in some of its key locations to see and find out if there are real signs of hope the reef can survive the threat of global warming.
2018 • Nature
We look at the ways in which plants have adapted to survive in the harshest climates on Earth. Whether in the driest, hottest deserts or the coldest Arctic wastes, plants have come up with some ingenious ways of surviving, including eating animals and actually caring for their offspring.
The fifth programme explores the alliances formed between the animal and plant worlds. It examines the ways in which plants live together and rely on each other. Whether living together in harmony, relying on each other for homes, protection or food, or living off each other, by strangling or otherwise destroying each other in a bid to survive.
This episode examines how plants either share environments harmoniously or compete for dominance within them. It looks at the ways in which plants have to fight to survive, using any means available, be it excessive growth, capitalizing on disaster or even courting.
The final programme looks at the superorganisms formed by bees, ants and termites. Attenborough reveals that their colonies, whose individuals were once considered purely servile, are "full of conflict, power struggles and mutinies." They evolved when such creatures moved away from a solitary existence and started building nests side-by-side, which led to a collective approach to caring for their young.
What changes has the Earth has undergone through the eyes of the puma and leopard? From the almost complete disappearance of American wildlife to the rise of man and the industrialized and urban areas of the modern 21st century. Big cats face numerous threats to their survival.
The Pleistocene Era, when packs of saber-tooths ruled. The arrival of the new cats; early snow leopards, cheetahs, and jaguars, marked a turning point in the evolutionary track. Their emergence as their innovative hunting techniques and physical advantages enable them to dominate their habitats.
What's appealing about a nosy tapir with an appetite for its own poop? How about a baby gelada that crawls awkwardly on its behind? The adaptations these baby animals employ may seem strange, but they're vital to their growth and survival. Join us as we cozy up to some of nature's most peculiar young ones.
For many endangered baby animals, the right zoo can mean hope for the entire species. Watch an endangered red panda cub get a warm welcome at Cornwall's Newquay Zoo, a rare baby macaque receive care from parents and keepers alike at the Dudley Zoological Gardens, and more.
Losing a parent in the wild can be deadly for young animals, but these orphans got lucky when conservationists stepped in. Meet clouded leopard cub sisters taken in by the Nashville Zoo, a baby wombat raised in an artificial pouch at Tasmania's Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, and more.
Some species need to be part of a group to survive--more so when they're in their infancy and taking their first, uncertain steps into the world. Join in the rough-and-tumble lives of black bear cubs, playful meerkat pups, and adorable fur seals.
Gorillas, rhinos, and elephants, three of nature's largest animals, deliver enormous babies. But the immense size of these newborns stands in stark contrast to their vulnerability. Everything from feeding to protection against predators to learning essential life skills falls on one devoted parent: their mothers.
Located on the Malilangwe Game Reserve in southern Zimbabwe, this 800-year-old baobab is a remarkable tree containing its own ecosystem. Capable of withstanding extreme drought by storing water in its hollow trunk, it draws a multitude of wildlife, from elephants who strip its bark in search of food, to vultures that nest on its branches. Remarkably, it also has another gift: a velvety fruit packed with an astonishing cocktail of nutrients. To witness the baobab is to be awed by the natural forces that produced it.
In the misty and lush tropical forest surrounding South Africa's Soutpansberg Mountains, a 600-year-old outeniqua yellowwood tree reigns supreme. It's 115 feet tall, and a source of food and shelter for an array of plants and animals. Crowned eagles construct massive nests in her fold, and Samango monkeys take refuge in her branches. As if it wasn't unique enough, this ancient, endangered tree has no flowers, instead reproducing through male and female cones-a marvel of the natural world, and a true South African treasure.
In the northeast corner of Botswana, the rainy season is months away. The sausage tree offers a beguiling oasis for wildlife--from birds and insects, to much larger mammals like elephants--all reeling from the dry conditions. Then, as the rains descend, brilliant red flowers bloom and entice parrots, squirrels, and sunbirds to help with pollination. Summer allows the sausage tree to live up to its name, delivering massive, sausage-shaped fruit, a nutritious feast and a cornerstone of life in this exotic ecosystem.
This documentary focuses specifically on insects. Giving you an unbelieveably up close and intimate view of the many unique secrets of the bug world. Answering scientific questions on how and why they have evolved certain bizarre adaptations, whilst using stunning imagery never seen before.
2018 • Nature
Peanut, Hero and Tarzan are three cheeky monkeys. They live on the paradise Indonesian island of Sulawesi with the rest of their gang of crested black macaques. These very special primates are found nowhere else in the world. Twenty-five years ago, wildlife cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson visited Sulawesi for the first time and now he's returned. Fascinated by the monkeys, Colin hopes to reveal their sometimes violent, often playful and, just like our own, highly political world. What he discovers leads him on a much bigger journey than he was ever expecting.
David Attenborough tells the revealing story of this Caribbean island's exotic but vulnerable wildlife. A team of conservation champions are making it their mission to save the most precious species. We see how Puerto Rican parrots, manatees and turtles are now making a comeback.
The world's biggest beasts have always captured the imagination. But whilst being big can have its advantages, it also comes with sizeable challenges. Take the world's largest lizard, the Komodo dragon, whose huge appetite means it must take on prey ten times its weight, or the tallest animal of them all - the giraffe - who, with such a long neck, must control immense blood pressure. Nature's biggest beasts must go to extraordinary lengths to thrive. These are their epic survival stories!
Aerial predators like owls, falcons, and eagles have keen senses that allow them to see and hear things that would normally go unnoticed by other species. Fly alongside these magnificent raptors at the Canadian Raptor Conservancy in Ontario as they showcase the full range of their hunting abilities.
Lions, hyenas, cheetahs, and the highly intelligent African painted dog all have different, but brutally efficient, hunting instincts. Meet these intimidating rulers of the African plains and learn the secrets of their secure reign at the top of the natural food chain.
In this episode, Chris reveals how the world's most spectacular grasslands flourish, despite being short of one essential nutrient - nitrogen. As it turns out, the secret lies with the animals. There are the white rhinos of Kenya that create nitrogen hotspots by trimming and fertilising the grass. They are drawn to these particular points by communal toilets or 'fecal facebooks', where they meet and greet each other. In the whistling acacia grasslands of Kenya, Chris reveals the amazing relationships between termites, geckos, ants, monkeys and giraffes that make these places so rich in wildlife
The name iSimangaliso means "Miracle" in Zulu--and the sheer number of species sustained by this diverse haven live up to this name. Explore this rare sanctuary, home to some of the world's most striking and iconic creatures, including the black rhino and the giant leatherback turtle.
Nicknamed "Cape of Storms," Table Mountain National Park teems with life despite its unforgiving weather conditions. Dive into the contrasts of this harsh world and learn about the life it harbors, including the fynbos--plant life that demands brush fire in order to spread its seeds and rejuvenate.
The squirrel family is one of the most widespread on earth, so what is the secret to their success? There are squirrels that can glide through the air, outwit rattlesnakes and survive the coldest temperatures of any mammal. We uncover the extraordinary abilities of these cheeky characters, putting their problem solving to the test on a specially designed assault course. We team up with some of the world's top squirrel scientists who are making groundbreaking discoveries - from the fox squirrel who can remember the location of 9,000 nuts to the grey squirrel whose tree-top leaps are the basis of new designs in robotics. We also see the world through the eyes of an orphan red squirrel called Billy, as he grows up and develops all the skills he will need to be released back to the wild. It is time to meet the animal family we should never underestimate - the super squirrels.
Every year, thousands of salmon make their way upstream along the nearly 2000-mile-long mighty Yukon River, desperate to reach spawning beds. Eagerly checking their progress is a host of hungry predators, from grizzly bears to bald eagles-all desperate to stock up on protein before the long winter months ahead.
Canada's Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island in the world--and with good reason. Temperatures below freezing for nine months of the year and an annual rainfall comparable to the Gobi Desert leave the icy landscape so barren that NASA uses it to simulate conditions on Mars. Take an exhilarating expedition into a land where only the most experienced Inuit hunters dare set foot.
Beneath Indonesia's coral reef, tiny creatures have made the murky seabed their home. Here, you'll find shrimps that kill with a whip-fast punch, toxic nudibranch sea slugs, and six of the nine species of the world's walking sharks. Dive into the depths of this unlikely ocean ecosystem.
Indonesia's marine rainforests are under threat, and rising sea temperatures and destructive fishing practices have taken a toll. However, conservation initiatives in hundreds of protected marine zones have given hope to the giant manta rays, 300 species of coral, and six of the world's seven sea turtle species that call this ecosystem home.
The vibrant reef ecosystem of Raja Ampat, off the coast of Indonesia, is home to a conservation sanctuary twice the size of Singapore. It's one of the few places on Earth where two different species of manta ray live side by side. Join a dedicated team of conservationists as they track these mysterious creatures to safeguard their future.
Palau has set up the world's first shark sanctuary-a California-sized marine zone where hunting these endangered predators is strictly prohibited. Can this tiny island-nation defend against a sophisticated army of poachers? Join the front lines to save one of the ocean's most cherished and endangered predators.
Forty miles north of Honduras, near the Bay Island of Roatan, is a spectacular and pristinely preserved coral atoll: the Mesoamerican Reef. Explore the abundant and diverse marine life, lush vegetation, and magnificent caves of this rare underwater wonder.
Three hundred and seventy miles off the coast of Mexico in the eastern Pacific, the waters surrounding Socorro Island are home to some of the world's largest marine life. Take a deep dive through surging currents and majestic coral reefs with whale sharks, giant manta rays, and more.
Tells the story of life on earth in the course of one single day, narrated by Robert Redford and made by BBC Earth Films. This film features stunning visuals and scored a 100 per cent positive rating on the critical aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. The family feature took three years to make, was filmed over 142 filming days in 22 countries and features 38 different species. It takes viewers up close and personal with a cast of unforgettable characters - a baby zebra desperate to cross a swollen river, a penguin who heroically undertakes a death-defying daily commute to feed his family, a family of sperm whales who like to snooze vertically, and a sloth on the hunt for love. 'As a storyteller and film-maker I often look to nature for sources of inspiration', said Robert Redford, narrator. 'In Earth: One Amazing Day, BBC Earth Films captured the natural world and its inhabitants using the perfect combination of storytelling and cutting-edge technology. The scenes and images are as inspirational as they are beautiful, and I was honoured to be a part of the film'. Told with humour, intimacy, emotion and a jaw-dropping sense of cinematic splendour, this film is a colourful, ultra-vivid family friendly adventure that spectacularly highlights how every day the natural world is filled with more unseen dramas and wonders than can possibly be imagined - until now.
2018 • Nature
It’s October in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley. The hottest and harshest time of year. But this year dry season conditions are exacerbated by a global El Nino event… the Valley is in the throes of drought. There’s been no rain since April and desperate animals are drawn to the only remaining source of water in the Valley – the dwindling Luangwa River...
Two billion years ago, a giant meteorite crashed into southern Africa's interior plateau, forming a six-mile-deep crater. Today, the site of this cataclysmic event is the Vredefort Dome--a dazzling and rich ecosystem of unique plant and animal life.
Man has explored land, the oceans surface, and large parts of the solar system, and in the 21st century we are just beginning to explore the depths of the Pacific Ocean. We yearn to unravel the mysterious Pacific but she does not give up her secrets willingly.
Venture into the lush confines of the Brazilian Pantanal, host to an assortment of unusual creatures with similarly strange habits. Among these, you'll encounter the piraputanga fish that leaps out of the water to pluck fruit off low-hanging branches and the lowland tapir--the largest land mammal in South America--who can eat up to 100 lbs. of vegetation each day.
For the last decade, a team of frontline medics has been fighting to save Borneo's critically endangered orangutans. Armed with cameras, International Animal Rescue has documented their struggle: pulling apes from devastated jungle, giving emergency medical care, rehabilitating and releasing the healthiest orangutans back into the wild. This is both the story of their life-saving work and of how one of our closest wild relatives has been pushed to the brink of extinction. Combining genuine rescue footage with contributions from experts throughout, this documentary looks toward the future and asks what hope remains to save the orangutan.
2018 • Nature
In the 1950s, Howard Hughes eyed purchasing the precious Exuma Cays--that is, until the Bahamian government intervened to protect the untouched gems. Set sail with the scientists, tour guides, and guards who have carried on that legacy to protect reefs, patrol waters, and propagate coral.
With crystal-clear waters, breathtaking marine life, and teeming biodiversity, the Caribbean island of Bonaire is a top destination for ecotourists. Visit one of the world's great ocean parks and see how the influx of travelers is fueling an ambitious project to conserve it.
The older a species, the better it is at adapting to change. From the ancient lineage of sharks, who've evolved into perfect predators, to the living fossil known as the bichir, get a closer look at some of nature's enduring evolutionary masters.
When did we start riding horses? When did dogs become man's best friend? Answering questions like these help us understand our impact on other species' evolutionary journeys - a crucial step toward ensuring our survival doesn't necessarily come at the expense of their own.
Why are vultures bald? Why do some orangutans have big cheeks? And if giraffes have long necks to help them reach the highest leaves, why do they mostly eat low-lying shrubs? Embark on a whirlwind tour around the world as we explore some of nature's most-fascinating evolutionary wonders.
Much of Australia consists of vast tracts of uninhabited land, a perfect hunting ground for the country's imperious birds of prey. From the brown falcons that feed on the country's deadliest snakes, to eagles that have been known to start fires on purpose so they can hunt fleeing animals, soar above the diverse habitats of this island continent in the company of its most accomplished aerial predators.
Despite their diminutive stature, little penguins are a formidable species. They spend months at sea hunting, they mate for life, and when gulls threaten to steal their hard-earned fish, they band together in groups for self-defense. Journey to the sandy beaches of Southern Australia, where the tiniest penguin species on the planet is living large.
They are among the most hated and feared animals on the planet - only few people recognize their beauty. This documentary features some of Europe's most stunning species, like the European adder, the nose-horned viper, the dice snake, the ringed snake and the Aesculapian snake. So watch out next time you're walking in the park. After a winter safe in burrows, sometimes in bundles of hundreds, the spring's warmth brings them back to life.
2016 • Nature
From singing whales and squeaking bats to thumping spiders and clicking dolphins, the world is filled with the exotic sounds of our fellow creatures. What are they saying? While we believe language sets us apart, some animals demonstrate they can learn our language—like Chaser the dog, who recognizes hundreds of words, and Kanzi the bonobo, who appears to have a sophisticated understanding of spoken English. But can we decode their own communications? NOVA Wonders follows researchers around the globe who are deciphering an amazing array of clues that reveal how animals share information critical to their survival. Will we one day be able to write the bat dictionary or decode the hidden sign language of chimps? And what can these findings tell us about the roots of our own language?
Exploring an unknown world 10,000 m beneath the waves. After capturing a giant squid on film, NHK's deep-sea film crew explores our planet's deepest point The Mariana Trench is nearly 7 miles deep. The water pressure is immense, and it's a world that's long been out of our reach. What creatures could survive such hostile conditions? This is an expedition to explore the earth's deepest frontier. Narrated By David Attenborough.
The final episode explores dinosaurs' extraordinary ability to survive. Featured dinosaurs include the bizarre magyarosaurus, which lived in the shadow of the biggest flying animal - hatzegopteryx - and showed an amazing adaptation to island life; and the weird nothronychus, a carnivore that gave up meat eating. This astonishing capacity to evolve into ever more diverse and bizarre forms meant that dinosaurs not only spread throughout the world, but also dominated life upon it for more than 160 million years. It was only an unprecedented extraterrestrial event that finally saw the end of planet dinosaur.
This episode of the documentary series focuses on the new giants, the heavyweights of the dinosaur world. It is only in recent years that experts have unearthed the biggest dinosaurs that ever lived. One monster eclipsed all others; more than seven times as heavy as diplodocus was the immense argentinosaurus - a single backbone was bigger than a human. For years, these giants were considered immune to attack from any predator - until the discovery of mapusaurus, a new giant killer whose fate appeared to be inextricably linked to argentinosaurus.
This episode focuses on the Jurassic period, a time when the first giant killers stalked the Earth and lurked in the seas; a time when the slightest advantage meant the difference between life and death. In North America the iconic allosaurus, an ambush hunter with a lethal bite, dominated. Not even the heavily-armoured stegosaurus was safe from this killer, and incredible evidence reveals a glimpse of a vicious battle between these two giants. Life in Jurassic oceans was no easier; in 2008, a fossil was dug out of a frozen island high in the Arctic. It was a colossal marine reptile, twice as big as most ocean predators, at 15 metres long and weighing about 45 tonnes. This was Predator X. Its skull alone was nearly twice the size of a tyrannosaurus rex's, and its bite force unmatched by anything in the Jurassic seas. The balance of power between predator and prey is a fine one, as prey continually evolves different ways to avoid predators. But for the most successful and enduring predators, the battle to survive has always been tipped in their favour.
The third episode looks at the last generation of killer dinosaurs - carnivores that took killing to a new level. By the end of the cretaceous period - 75 millions years ago - these gigantic and specialised hunter-killers had spread throughout the globe. In the southern continents it was the powerful and muscular abelisaurids that reigned supreme but it was the famous tyrannosaurids (or tyrant dinosaurs) that dominated in the north. Whilst the northern daspletosaurus hunted in gangs, using its highly developed smell and hearing to take down opponents like the horned rhino-sized beast, chasmosaurus, in the Southern hemisphere the small-skulled majungasaurus reigned. And though the sharp toothed majungasaurus was an efficient killer of the much smaller feathered rahonavis that did not stop it from occasionally turning cannibal and hunting its own.
The second episode of the documentary series takes a look at bizarre and extraordinary feathered dinosaurs, many of which have only just been discovered. These feathered beasts are revolutionising our understanding of life on Earth as they blur the boundaries between what we know of dinosaurs and birds. China sits at the heart of the feathered dinosaur discoveries and is the home of one of the most unusual discoveries on Earth: the epidexipteryx. Only the size of a pigeon, this predator was the most bird-like of any dinosaur and is the first known case of ornamental feathers. But feathers were not just confined to the small. From caudipteryx to sinosauropteryx and the 8-metre-long gigantoraptor, feathers may have been used for flight, for insulation or even to intimate and attract. These dinosaurs not only hint at how animals might have developed flight, but also suggest that dinosaurs may still live among us today - as birds.
The series starts in North Africa, where two of the world's biggest predators once battled for supremacy. At 13m and seven tonnes, the carcharodontosaurus was a huge beast, a gigantic lizard-like carnivore with shark-like teeth over six inches long. It was an efficient hunter that would slash at its prey until it bled to death. But the discovery of an upper jaw in Morocco revealed an even bigger carnivorous killer - spinosaurus. Four metres longer than Tyrannosaurus rex, spinosaurus is thought to have been one of the biggest killers to ever walk the Earth. But unlike the meat-eating carcharodontosaurus, spinosaurus mainly ate fish, living and hunting almost exclusively in the water. Like all predators that share an environment, the two may once have had to compete for food. Planet Dinosaur takes a look at what one such deadly battle may have looked like and finds out which giant beast would have been most likely to survive a fight to the death.
Known as "the roof of Africa," the Simien Mountains offer a glimpse at some of the rarest creatures on the continent. Among plunging cliffs that give way to lush greenery and foggy skies, learn how native wildlife like the magnificent walia ibex and cunning Simien wolf have adapted to this remote alpine terrain.
Tanzania's Lake Manyara National Park boasts a number of diverse habitats. From woodland savannas to grassy marshes, the region is a special part of the east African ecosystem and provides a wealth of resources to the wildlife that call it home.
With every step towards the summit of the mighty Drakensberg, new species of exotic animals showcase the attributes that enable them to endure their harsh mountain home. Meet the sungazer, the intriguingly named suicide lizard, and other reptiles that inhabit South Africa's high-altitude terrain.
For the animals of the Okavango Delta, life itself depends on a fortuitous natural anomaly: a river that cuts through the mighty Kalahari Desert. Embark on a tour of this accidental paradise, where a colorful ecosystem of plants, animals, and birds flourish in the unexpected abundance.
On the eastern coast of Africa lies a subtropical realm of staggering beauty and diversity--a mangrove forest where saltwater meets fresh and a variety of secretive forest dwellers work feverishly to survive. Take a thrilling journey into this rarest of ecosystems, one that few get to witness.
The Serengeti is one of the most biologically diverse areas on earth--but it's also the scene of some of the most important fossil discoveries ever made. Join us as we meet the modern inhabitants of this ancient land, and track how their evolution helped shape our understanding of human origins.
The annual migration of wildebeest through the plains of the Serengeti reaches its unforgiving apex at the banks of the crocodile-infested Mara River. Undeterred, the herd leaps in despite the deadly predators within. Join wildlife expert Jean du Plessis as he charts this epic and often-deadly journey.
This vibrant new Nature special explores the astonishing survival techniques of butterflies, including their 360 vision, deceptive camouflage, chemical weaponry, and fantastic flight across continents. Through sophisticated macro-filming, viewers get a rare glimpse beyond the butterflies’ bright colours and fragile beauty as they follow them on one of the greatest migrations on Earth. Narrated by Paul Giamatti.
The Siamese fighting fish is so aggressive it will fight its own reflection until it is exhausted. Recent research shows that the fighting behaviour varies and depends on the personality of the fish! Male kangaroos were once pitted against humans in the boxing ring, with the most impressive male kangaroos being solid blocks of muscle with a kick that can kill. Why do they fight and what skills must a winner have?
David Attenborough investigates two shells that have proved to be winners in evolution: the tortoise's shell and the shells of birds' eggs. The ostrich egg is so strong it is possible for a person to stand on it without it breaking, but how does the chick break out of this fortress? The evolution of the tortoise shell was for a long time a mystery and this bony box offers a lot more than just protection.
The giant panda gives birth to the smallest baby of any mammal and has to care for and protect it for many months. Why don't they give birth to more developed, robust young? The kiwi lays one of the largest eggs in the bird world, which produces a very well-developed chick. Why do kiwis produce a single egg that is a quarter of its body mass and almost too big to lay?
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.
Hybrids can be bizarre and they can be deadly. We look at two hybrid animals that owe their existence to human interference - the pizzly bear (a cross between a polar bear and grizzly), which has come into being because of global warming, and the killer bee, brought into existence because of the transfer of African bees to South America.
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.
David Attenborough has a passion for birds' eggs. These remarkable structures nurture new life, protecting it from the outside world at the same time as allowing it to breathe. They are strong enough to withstand the full weight of an incubating parent and weak enough to allow a chick to break free. But how is an egg made? Why are they the shape they are? And perhaps most importantly, why lay an egg at all? Piece by piece, from creation to hatching, David reveals the wonder behind these miracles of nature.
High above the skies of Israel, an avian migration of staggering proportions attracts birdwatchers from all over the world. From gliding birds like the short-toed eagle to waders like red-necked phalaropes, here's your chance to track one of the most important stops on the bird migration route--no binoculars needed.
Sir David Attenborough tells the stories of the world's best animal architects. There are house-proud bower birds, who only find a mate if they decorate their homes perfectly. There are hornets, who build electric central heating systems, and the star-nosed mole, whose house is designed so well that worms, his favourite meal, literally drop in for dinner. From larders to nurseries and from high-rises to subway systems, Attenborough shows that the animal architects have designed it long before humans.
Thanks to new technologies combining genetics, ethology, geology and even particle physics, paleontologists can now recreate the missing branches of the tree of life. Because of this, it has been discovered that prehistoric mammals were more varied and numerous than previously thought.
Thanks to new technologies combining genetics, ethology, geology and even particle physics, paleontologists can now recreate the missing branches of the tree of life. Now, paleontologists can show that there were far more feathered dinosaurs than previously believed.
Giant insects once dominated the earth before the dinosaurs. Thanks to new technologies combining genetics, ethology, geology and even particle physics, paleontologists can now recreate the missing branches of the tree of life. Assumptions have been shattered and all the rules are changing.
In Taiji, Japan, local fishermen hide a gruesome secret: the capture and slaughter of dolphins. Activist Ric O'Barry, who trained dolphins for the "Flipper" TV series, joins forces with filmmaker Louis Psihoyos and the Ocean Preservation Society to expose the brutal practice, risking life and limb in the process.
2009 • Nature
In some of the world's most spectacular natural wonders, people push themselves to the limit in order to survive. For the people who call these extraordinary places home, survival requires skill, ingenuity and bravery. In Brazil, the Kamayura people of the Xingu Indigenous Park believe they must appease the spirits if they are to remain in good health. In Ethiopia, belief in a higher power leads villagers in the Tigray region to climb a huge, vertiginous mountainside to reach their church. Laos is one of the most fertile places on earth. Despite this, life is dangerous for the rice farmers in this beautiful country. During the Vietnam War, the United States dropped an estimated 270 million bombs on this small country and approximately 80 million of them failed to explode.
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.
Steve Backshall reveals the incredible influence that insects and their close relatives have on Earth's many ecosystems. In the grasslands of South America the landscape has been created almost solely by one team of insects - grass-cutter ants. Across the world's oceans one tiny creature plays such a key role that, without it, the largest animal on our planet, the blue whale, could not exist. And in East Africa the savannah would quickly be swamped in dung were it not for the activities of a certain beetle. Yet the greatest influence of all comes from a group of insects that have ultimately changed the colour and diversity of our planet.
Steve Backshall explores the connections and relationship that we have with insects and other arthropods. In Kenya, huge armies of driver ants give houses a five-star clean-up, and in China, we discover how silkworm caterpillars have shaped our culture and distribution. While locusts devastate crops in Africa, bees and beetles across the world provide a key link in our food chains. Many of us perceive these animals merely as creepy crawlies and nothing more than a nuisance, but as Steve reveals, we couldn't live without them.
You find fungi in Antarctica and in nuclear reactors. They live inside your lungs and your skin is covered with them. Fungi are the most under appreciated and unexplained organisms, yet they could cure you from smallpox and turn cardboard boxes into forests. They could even transform Mars into Eden. There are vastly more fungi species than plants and each and every one of them plays a crucial role in life’s support systems. Join us on a journey into the mysterious world of Fungi to witness their beauty, unravel their mysteries and discover how this secret kingdom is essential to life on Earth, and may in fact hold the key to our future.
2018 • Nature
During summer, the Atlantic coast of the northeastern United States attracts huge amounts of fish and wildlife. Particularly interesting are the basking sharks, the world’s second-largest fish, and the leatherback sea turtles, which weigh one ton and are the world’s largest reptile.
The Comb-crested Jacanas are unique birds that use their long toes to walk delicately across lotus leaves and catch underwater prey. This episode, filmed between the rainy season and dry season in Kakadu, follows a father bird raising his chicks through their dramatic and difficult first year.
Once a mountain kingdom of ancient palaces and emperors, Korea in the 21st century is largely known for its modern cities and decades of conflict. Tensions between North and South may be what defines it to outsiders but beyond the battle scars there is another side to Korea. In the south are large pockets of untouched wilderness where extraordinary animals flourish and Koreans continue to practice age-old traditions in tandem with the seasons and with nature. It is in these connections, rather than in division, that we see the true Korea. At the southernmost tip of the peninsular we follow a pod of bottlenose dolphins through the volcanic islands of Jeju. They click at each other as they encounter a human in their midst, but the dolphins know this diver well - they have shared the ocean with the Haenyeo, or sea women, for thousands of years. We travel onwards to the isolated island of Marado, where three generations of sea women are preparing for a dive. Today is the start of the conch season, and they work hard whatever the weather to maximise their catch. In the grounds of an ancient palace on the mainland, a raccoon dog family takes advantage of a rare event. Just once every five years, hundreds of cicadas emerge from below ground providing an easy feast for the raccoon dogs who voraciously fill their bellies. Those that escape their jaws make for the safety of the trees, where they metamorphosise into their flying form. On the mud flats of Suncheon Bay we find a habitat that is neither land nor sea. Only recently has the ecological value of mudflats been recognised. A staggering 50 per cent of the earth's oxygen is produced by phytoplankton - microscopic algae that are found here in great abundance. That is why the mudflats are known locally as the lungs of the earth. Plankton is far from the only life here - the mud of the bay is rich in nutrients and supports one of the most diverse ecosystems on the peninsula. We follow the story of a young mudskipper who has emerged for his first mating season. His journey to find love is paved with obstacles.
2018 • Nature
Details coastal environments and the effect of tides, of which the highest can be found in the Bay of Fundy in North America. In places, erosion is causing the land to retreat, while in others — such as the tropics — the expansion of mangroves causes it to advance.
Attenborough describes the course the Amazon, starting high up in the Andes of Peru, whose streams flow into the great river. Young rivers are by nature vigorous and dangerous: they flow fast and form rapids, thick with mud and sediment.
Ascends a kapok in the South American tropical rainforest to observe "the greatest proliferation of life that you can find anywhere on the surface of the Earth. There are two main causes for this: warmth and wetness. As this climate is constant, there are no seasons, so trees vary greatly in their flowering cycles.
Begins in northern Norway, 500 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. Here, there is only just enough light for the pine trees to survive, but it is extremely cold during the winter. Pine cone seeds provide one of the few foods available at this time of year, and large herbivores such as the moose must also rely on their fat reserves.
Describes the inhospitable habitats of snow and ice. Mount Rainier in America is an example of such a place: there is no vegetation, therefore no herbivores and thus no carnivores. However, beneath its frosty surface, algae grow and some insects, such as ladybirds visit the slopes. Africa’s mountains are permanently snow-covered, and beneath peaks such as Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, there are communities of plants and animals.
Visits the world's deepest valley: the Kali Gandaki river in the Himalayas. Its temperatures range from those of the tropics in its lower reaches to that of the poles higher up. It therefore shows how creatures become adapted to living in certain environments.
In the second episode, Iain discovers how flowers have transformed our planet. He journeys to the remote islands of the South Pacific to track down the earliest flowers. In the deserts of Africa and rainforests of Vietnam, he sees how they brought brilliant colour to the most barren landscapes and sculpted the earth itself. And he learns how they drove the evolution of all animals - kick-starting our human story.
In this first episode Iain journeys from the spectacular caves of Vietnam to the remote deserts of Africa. He sees how plants first harnessed light from the sun and created our life-giving atmosphere. He uncovers the epic battle between the dinosaurs and the tallest trees on the planet. And, using remarkable imagery, he shows plants breathing - and for the first time talking to each other.
In Ruaha, Tanzania, lions form huge super prides in order to hunt giants. Amongst cats lions are unusual, the only one to live in groups. In numbers they find the strength and audacity to hunt the most formidable prey. In Sri Lanka a tiny rusty-spotted cat explores his forest home - 200 times smaller than a lion, the rusty-spotted is the smallest of all cats, but just as curious. The Canada lynx lives further north than any cat, relying on snowshoe hares to survive the bitterly cold winters. Until now, lynx were creatures of mystery, but now technology provides an insight into their secret lives.
Professor Richard Fortey travels to northeastern China to see a fossil site known as the 'Dinosaur Pompeii' - a place that has yielded spectacular remains of feathered dinosaurs and rewritten the story of the origins of birds. Among the amazing finds he investigates are the feathered cousin of T-rex, a feathered dinosaur with strong parallels to living pandas and some of the most remarkable flying animals that have ever lived.
Professor Richard Fortey journeys high in the Rocky Mountains to explore a 520-million-year-old fossilised seabed containing bizarre and experimental lifeforms that have revolutionised our understanding about the beginnings of complex life. Among the amazing finds he uncovers are marine creatures with five eyes and a proboscis; filter-feeders shaped like tulips; worm-like scavengers covered in spikes but with no identifiable head or anus; and a metre-long predator resembling a giant shrimp.
In the Land of the Cave Bear, Alice ventures to the parts of the northern hemisphere, hit hardest by the cold - Europe and Siberia. High in the mountains of Transylvania, a cave sealed for thousands of years reveals grisly evidence for a fight to the death between two staving giants, a cave bear and a cave lion. Yet Alice discovers that for woolly rhinos and woolly mammoths, the Ice Age created a bounty. The Mammoth Steppe, a vast tract of land which went half way round the world, provided food all year round, for those that liked the cold. It was these mammoths that Europe's most dangerous predators hunted for their survival.
The series begins in the 'land of the sabre-tooth'; North America, a continent that was half covered by ice that was up to two miles thick. Yet this frozen land also boasted the most impressive cast of Ice Age giants in the world. Across locations such as the Grand Canyon, the sands of Arizona and the coast of California, Alice traces the movements of Ice Age beasts like bear-sized sloths, vast mammoths and the strange beast known as the glyptodon. These leviathans all have one thing in common: they were stalked by the meanest big cat that ever prowled the Earth, armed with seven-inch teeth and hunting in packs - Smilodon fatalis, the sabre-toothed cat.
At the very northern edge of North America is Ellesmere Island, where the unforgiving Arctic winds tear through the tundra, dipping temperatures to 40 below zero. Running through this shifting sea of snow and ice is one of the most hardened predators on the planet, the White Wolf. But as the spring melt approaches, these roaming hunters must adapt to being tethered parents as new additions to the pack have just been born. With their herds of prey continuing to move, we witness a desperate race to keep up and bring back a kill to the hungry mothers and cubs. Traveling farther and farther away from their den each day puts these hunters and their children at risk in this fight for survival.
2018 • Nature
The prodigies of the animal kingdom have feathers, beaks – and unexpectedly large brains! Just how high does their intellect soar? Rest upon the wings of the Keas in New Zealand and the New Caledonian Crows and take part in this ultimate avian I.Q. test.
2014 • Nature
Intelligence and adaptability allow primates to tackle the many challenges of life, and this is what makes our closest relatives so successful. This resourcefulness has enabled primates to conquer an incredible diversity of habitat. Hamadryas baboons live on the open plains of Ethiopia in groups up to 400 strong. Strength in numbers gives them some protection from potential predators. But, should their path cross with other baboon troops, it can lead to all-out battle, as males try to steal females from one another, and even settle old scores. Japanese macaques are the most northerly-dwelling primates and they experience completely different challenges. Some beat the freezing conditions by having access to a thermal spa in the middle of winter. But this privilege is only for those born of the right female bloodline. For western lowland gorillas, it's the male silverback that leads his family group in the rich forests of the Congo basin. He advertises his status to all with a powerful chest-beating display. Most primates are forest dwellers, and one of the strangest is the tarsier – the only purely carnivorous primate. As it hunts for insects the tarsier leaps from tree to tree in the dead of night, using its huge forward-facing eyes to safely judge each jump. Good communication is essential for success in primate society.
Plants' solutions to life's challenges are as ingenious and manipulative as any animal's. Innovative time-lapse photography opens up a parallel world where plants act like fly-paper, or spring-loaded traps, to catch insects. Vines develop suckers and claws to haul themselves into the rainforest canopy. Every peculiar shape proves to have a clever purpose. The dragon's blood tree is like an upturned umbrella to capture mist and shade its roots. The seed of a Bornean tree has wings so aerodynamic they inspired the design of early gliders. The barrel-shaped desert rose is full of water. The heliconia plant even enslaves a humming bird and turns it into an addict for its nectar.
Marine invertebrates are some of the most bizarre and beautiful animals on the planet, and thrive in the toughest parts of the oceans. Divers swim into a shoal of predatory Humboldt squid as they emerge from the ocean depths to hunt in packs. When cuttlefish gather to mate, their bodies flash in stroboscopic colours. Time-lapse photography reveals thousands of starfish gathering under the Arctic ice to devour a seal carcass. A giant octopus commits suicide for her young. A camera follows her into a cave which she walls up, then she protects her eggs until she starves. The greatest living structures on earth, coral reefs, are created by tiny animals in some of the world's most inhospitable waters.
Mammals' ability to learn new tricks is the key to survival in the knife-edge world of hunters and hunted. In a TV first, a killer whale off the Falklands does something unique: it sneaks into a pool where elephant seal pups learn to swim and snatches them, saving itself the trouble of hunting in the open sea. Slow-motion cameras reveal the star-nosed mole's newly-discovered technique for smelling prey underwater: it exhales then inhales a bubble of air ten times per second. Young ibex soon learn the only way to escape a fox - run up an almost vertical cliff face - and young stoats fight mock battles, learning the skills that make them one of the world's most efficient predators.
There are 200 million insects for each of us. They are the most successful animal group ever. Their key is an armoured covering that takes on almost any shape. Darwin's stag beetle fights in the tree tops with huge curved jaws. The camera flies with millions of monarch butterflies which migrate 2000 miles, navigating by the sun. Super slow motion shows a bombardier beetle firing boiling liquid at enemies through a rotating nozzle. A honey bee army stings a raiding bear into submission. Grass cutter ants march like a Roman army, harvesting grass they cannot actually eat. They cultivate a fungus that breaks the grass down for them. Their giant colony is the closest thing in nature to the complexity of a human city.
Birds owe their global success to feathers - something no other animal has. They allow birds to do extraordinary things. For the first time, a slow-motion camera captures the unique flight of the marvellous spatuletail hummingbird as he flashes long, iridescent tail feathers in the gloomy undergrowth. Aerial photography takes us into the sky with an Ethiopian lammergeier dropping bones to smash them into edible-sized bits. Thousands of pink flamingoes promenade in one of nature's greatest spectacles. The sage grouse rubs his feathers against his chest in a comic display to make popping noises that attract females. The Vogelkop bowerbird makes up for his dull colour by building an intricate structure and decorating it with colourful beetles and snails.
Fish dominate the planet's waters through their astonishing variety of shape and behaviour. The beautiful weedy sea dragon looks like a creature from a fairytale, and the male protects their eggs by carrying them on his tail for months. The sarcastic fringehead, meanwhile, appears to turn its head inside out when it fights. Slow-motion cameras show the flying fish gliding through the air like a flock of birds and capture the world's fastest swimmer, the sailfish, plucking sardines from a shoal at 70 mph. And the tiny Hawaiian goby undertakes one of nature's most daunting journeys, climbing a massive waterfall to find safe pools for breeding.
Mammals dominate the planet. They do it through having warm blood and by the care they lavish on their young. Weeks of filming in the bitter Antarctic winter reveal how a mother Weddell seal wears her teeth down keeping open a hole in the ice so she can catch fish for her pup. A powered hot air balloon produces stunning images of millions of migrating bats as they converge on fruiting trees in Zambia, and slow-motion cameras reveal how a mother rufous sengi exhausts a chasing lizard. A gyroscopically stabilised camera moves alongside migrating caribou, and a diving team swim among the planet's biggest fight as male humpback whales battle for a female.
Reptiles and amphibians look like hang-overs from the past. But they overcome their shortcomings through amazing innovation. The pebble toad turns into a rubber ball to roll and bounce from its enemies. Extreme slow-motion shows how a Jesus Christ lizard runs on water, and how a chameleon fires an extendible tongue at its prey with unfailing accuracy. The camera dives with a Niuean sea snake, which must breed on land but avoids predators by swimming to an air bubble at the end of an underwater tunnel. In a TV first, Komodo dragons hunt a huge water-buffalo, biting it to inject venom, then waiting for weeks until it dies. Ten dragons strip the carcass to the bone in four hours.
In nature, living long enough to breed is a monumental struggle. Many animals and plants go to extremes to give themselves a chance. Uniquely, three brother cheetahs band together to bring down a huge ostrich. Aerial photography reveals how bottle-nosed dolphins trap fish in a ring of mud, and time-lapse cameras show how the Venus flytrap ensnares insect victims. The strawberry frog carries a tadpole high into a tree and drops it in a water-filled bromeliad. The frog must climb back from the ground every day to feed it. Fledgling chinstrap penguins undertake a heroic and tragic journey through the broken ice to get out to sea. Many can barely swim and the formidable leopard seal lies in wait.
This special, narrated by Andrew Scott, celebrates spring on planet Earth, and the extraordinary tricks that animals and plants find to rise to the new challenges it brings. This magical season brings a burst of new life - but as soon as the air starts to warm, it's a race to wake up and get ahead of everyone else. For many, it's the perfect time to find a mate and raise babies - but for everything, from adventurous grizzly bear cubs and amorous dancing grebes, to flowers in the desert and swifts that fly marathons, spring is about rushing to make the most of the opportunities this busy season brings.
Andrew Scott narrates a special programme which celebrates winter and explores how animals and plants rise to the challenges it brings. With their world encased in snow and ice, animals must find the most inventive ways to survive and even benefit from the cold. Caribou become ice road travellers as it gets slippery underfoot, stoats make their own fur bedding, and snow monkeys find a warm bath. Emperor penguins are built for the cold weather, but even they must find their own tricks to endure the world's most savage winter.
This special, narrated by Andrew Scott, celebrates the drama of Autumn and how animals and plants deal with the new challenges it brings. This is the time of year that brings the world's most spectacular transformations. With winter fast approaching, life has to get ready and that means feeding up while you can, fighting for the last chance to breed and rushing to grow up before the cold returns. While chipmunks and beavers dash to stash their winter supplies, many animals from musk oxen to beetles have to battle for mates and young gannets must face life's first dangerous challenges.
This programme, narrated by Andrew Scott, celebrates the glorious nature of summer on Earth and the extraordinary ways animals and plants rise to the challenges it brings. With the sun shining and the flowers blooming, this is the season of splendid abundance, and the long hours of daylight make life burst out in a riot of activity. But you have to find clever ways to get your share of the good times while they last, and as temperatures soar, everything has to deal with sweltering heat. For a whole range of animals, from sneaky ring-tailed lemurs to battling ibex, and from overheated penguins to astonishing colour-changing lizards, summer is a time when the living is not always easy.
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
Sophie explores the world of silent communication in the animal kingdom and the human world - showing how much we can actually say without ever opening our mouths or making a noise. She reveals how some species have harnessed bacteria to generate light and how light messages are used by insects and deep-sea fish for a range of reasons, including attracting prey. Exploring how body language communicates huge amounts about us and other species, Professor Scott shows why a dog's wagging tail does not always mean it is happy and how humans can tell a lot about someone's state of mind from their posture alone. She reveals why yawns and smiles are contagious and how this can play a key role in social bonding and cohesion.
2/3 • Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The Language of Life • 2017 • Nature
The Andes is the longest mountain range in the world and home to astonishing hidden worlds, extraordinary animals and remarkable people. A female puma and her three cubs hunt in the mountains of the frozen south. Spectacled bears search for water on scorched mountain forests and the descendants of the Inca gather in an ancient ceremony to build a bridge made from woven grass. High in the cloud forest, a newly discovered shape-shifting frog baffles scientists with its superpowers and in the Atacama desert - the driest place in the world - strange reptiles battle for access to precious water. This is the mountain range of surprise and wonder.
The highest mountain range on earth is home to extraordinary animals and remarkable ancient cultures. In the depths of winter, snow leopards creep into isolated mountain villages in search of food. In hidden valleys, bizarre-looking monkeys huddle for warmth in a frozen forest. Ancient Buddhist monasteries have age-old rituals creating beautiful works of art made from mountain sand and athletes compete in the gruelling Everest marathon. Strange and exotic creatures live in the Himalaya - the chiru, with the warmest wool in the world, snakes bathing in hot springs and wild yak competing in their annual rut. Breathtaking photography reveals a lost world of surprises in the latest landmark wildlife series from the BBC.
The Rockies are the spine of North America, a beautiful wilderness of snow-capped peaks and hidden valleys. Cougars hunt in abandoned ranches, wolverines search the deep snow for food and grizzly bears hunt in the high mountain meadows. Daredevil wingsuit flier’s leap from mile-high cliffs and Native American tribes compete in breakneck horse races. It is also the range of surprises, with tiny cannibal salamanders hunting in mountain ponds and hummingbirds making enormous migrations
Cats are said to hate water, crave warmth and only eat meat. But in episode three, Super Cats, viewers are introduced to the wild cats that break all the feline rules. From jaguars with sub-aqua skills to tigers that can survive temperatures of minus forty, the programme reveals how cats have developed super powers to survive in the most unlikely landscapes. As well as the iconic big cats, in this final episode viewers get a glimpse into the lives of the most rare and strange cats of all – including a real-life Garfield recently discovered living high in the Himalayas. It’s revealed how the cats’ ability to adapt to extremes has made them some of the most successful predators on the planet.
In the first episode and for the first time ever, the programme compares the humble moggy with their big cat cousins, gaining surprising insights into the entire cat family. In Africa, lion whisperer Kevin Richardson proves how similar domestic pets are to the fearsome big cats and why there's more to feline communication than meets the eye. In the thick jungles of South East Asia, the series discovers which sabre-tooth wild cat has given tabbies their gravity defying climbing skills and in Namibia, shows how a strange looking cat called a caracal has given them the ability to jump over three metres and catch birds in flight, inspiring the phrase "put the cat amongst the pigeons". To truly understand the world’s most beloved purring pets, there needs to be an understanding of their wild relatives.
David Attenborough narrates the intimate story of a leopard mother and her two cubs. This very special family must survive in the wilds of Botswana alongside some less-than-friendly neighbours: lions, wild dogs and hyenas. The competition for food is tough, and if they are going to make it they must learn a new skill - they must learn to fish. This is an epic family drama. With them every step of the way is local cameraman Brad Bestelink. Brad's 18-month journey following the lives of these secretive big cats offers a rare glimpse into an otherwise hidden world.
Blue Planet II explores parts of the ocean that nobody has ever visited, encountered extraordinary animals, and discovered new insights into life beneath the waves. In Our Blue Planet, Sir David Attenborough examines the impact of human life on life in the ocean. In this final episode, we uncover the impact that our modern lives are having on our best-loved characters from across the series, including devoted albatross parents unwittingly feeding their chicks discarded plastic and mother dolphins potentially exposing their newborn calves to pollutants through their contaminated milk. Scientists have even discovered that increasing noise levels may stop baby clownfish finding their way home.
For 10,000 years or more, humans created new plant varieties for food by trial and error and a touch of serendipity. Then 150 years ago, a new era began. Pioneer botanists unlocked the patterns found in different types of plants and opened the door to a new branch of science - plant genetics. They discovered what controlled the random colours of snapdragon petals and the strange colours found in wild maize. This was vital information. Some botanists even gave their lives to protect their collection of seeds. American wheat farmer Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel peace prize after he bred a new strain of wheat that lifted millions of people around the world out of starvation. Today, botanists believe advances in plant genetics hold the key to feeding the world's growing population.
What makes plants grow is a simple enough question, but the answer turns out to be one of the most complicated and fascinating stories in science and took over 300 years to unravel. Timothy Walker, director of the Oxford University Botanic Garden, reveals how the breakthroughs of Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, Chelsea gardener Phillip Miller and English naturalist John Ray created the science of botany. Between them these quirky, temperamental characters unlocked the mysteries of the plant kingdom and they began to glimpse a world where bigger, better and stronger plants could be created. Nurseryman Thomas Fairchild created the world's first artificial hybrid flower - an entirely new plant that didn't exist in nature. Today, botanists continue the search for new flowers, better crops and improved medicines to treat life-threatening diseases.
Secret History documentary charting an astounding archaeological investigation in South Africa that has discovered the remains of an entirely new species of human ancestor: Homo naledi. Following an expedition by a team of experts, led by Professor Lee Berger, as they recover over 1,500 fossilised bone fragments from a deep and nearly inaccessible cave and conduct extensive analysis
2015 • Nature
This is the ultimate hidden kingdom - the urban jungle. In the colourful and chaotic streets of Rio, a young marmoset is separated from his street gang and forced to confront of the dangers of the city alone. In the futuristic metropolis of Tokyo, a rhinoceros beetle escapes his captors and begins an extraordinary journey through this alien world to find sanctuary.
This is the story of two young animals forced to grow up fast. In Africa's savannah, a baby elephant shrew learns how speed is the secret to survival amongst the largest animals on Earth; and in America, a young grasshopper mouse confronts the Wild West's deadliest creatures to stake a claim of his own.
The Okavango Delta is one of the world's largest inland deltas - and supports a variety of life as rich as any you will see in Africa. Yet this lush wetland of islands and lagoons lies in the middle of the vast, featureless Kalahari Desert. This is the story of how it happens. Following groups of wildlife, including hippos, baboons, catfish, kingfishers, leopards, warthogs and elephants, the film reveals how the yearly flood transforms the landscape and impacts their lives. But more surprisingly, it reveals how, with the help of termites and hippos, the flood actually creates this extraordinary delta in the first place.
Svalbard in the Arctic spends many months of the year in complete darkness, an unrelenting frozen winter with temperatures down to -40 Celsius. But when the sun finally reappears, the landscape magically transforms from an ice world into a rich tundra, full of exotic plants, birds, arctic foxes, polar bears, walrus and reindeer. This film captures the changes in all their glory and reveals how this transformation is only possible thanks to some bizarre micro-organisms that feed on ice and the stunning abilities of migrating birds.
New England is the stage for the most incredible colour change on earth, when the vivid greens of summer give way to the gold’s and reds of autumn. This film reveals how this vibrant fiesta is created by the battles between the trees and the forests' inhabitants. Moose, chipmunks, rattlesnakes and a bizarre mixture of caterpillars all play a crucial role, but surprisingly the forest itself was made so colourful thanks to a combination of hard work by beavers, ants and humans.
Before man ruled the world, Earth was a land of giants. Count down the biggest beasts of their kind to ever roam the planet in this eye-opening special, and uncover the secret lives of these supersized species. Birds with plane-length wingspans, dinosaurs rivalling a Boeing 737; this stunning CGI special goes in search of the truth behind these monsters, counting down the ten largest and most extraordinary finds. From handling the recently unearthed bones of a dinosaur far larger than previously known, to analysing the flight technique of a giant seven-metre bird uncover the unique adaptations that allowed each animal to thrive. Visual stunts and surprising size comparisons bring each beast vividly back to life in ever-increasing sizes. Get ready for a dramatic countdown of the most mind-blowing lost giants.
2015 • Nature
Take a journey through majestic primeval forests of the Urals. These protected sites are known for their extremes, where the fine side by side, and giant deer, and giant leviathan, weighing half a ton, and tiny animals. This also, in search of food, make their seasonal raiding Eurasian elk. Unlike other types of elk Eurasian elk live alone, so for the pregnant female elk stress of meeting with other animals usually leads to a fight. As soon as the snow begins to melt in the woods, baring the ground, a lone wolf set out in search of food, not disdaining the frozen remains of animals
The Arctic region of Russia is considered the most inhospitable places to live. But polar bears, lemmings, Arctic foxes, and seals - Arctic - simply heaven. In late August, with the onset of the breeding season is going very strong male musk for traditional competitions for the right leadership in the pairing with females. Weight of an adult bull can reach 400 kilograms. In a skirmish with a rival musk ox to deliver a decisive blow running away at 40 miles per hour. Sound from the blow horns fighting males can be heard at a distance of more than one kilometer.
From the snow-white peaks to scorching sun of deserts - all the Caucasus. Caucasus Mountains - not just a mountain ridge. This is a rich habitat for many species of flora and fauna, which feel great on the wooded slopes, and alpine meadows, and even in salt marshes. It is well settled down wild boar, Eurasian lynx, European bison and the rare fragile ophidian lizard. Caucasus - is another jewel in the crown of Wildlife Russia.
Siberia - It accounts for 10% of the land on our planet. Siberia is known for its frost and is known worldwide as one of the coldest places on earth. However, Siberia is home to numerous species of large wild animals, beasts and other creatures, including musk deer, camel, gazelle and rare species of lizard - Siberian salamander, which can be several years in a frozen state at - 40gradusov C and survive. From the cold north to the southern steppes - all Siberia, in all its splendor. Kamchatka - Land exploding volcanoes and glaciers, a country of ice and fire.
There is no uncommon sight hanging on the trees of Asian black bears, chipmunks, scurrying about in search of food, as well as the sika deer, gracefully descend to the water to supplement your diet with brown algae. The very presence of deer and deer attracts the largest predator in this region - the Amur tiger. But the world's largest wild cat is also at risk. Poaching and destruction of habitat of tigers in the Ussuri taiga in Russia for many years have created a real threat of extinction of this rare animal.
The volcanic Kamchatka peninsula is located on the far east of Russia. Because of the frequent volcanic eruptions and landslides, the terrain is constantly changing. But, despite the fact that the remote Kamchatka region is considered dangerous, it is unusually rich and fertile. Exploring the riches of this magical land, our film does not miss anything. In the frame - the golden eagles soaring in the sky, the wolverine, scavenge, the whole family of red foxes, and even the owners of these places - brown bears, happy to take baths in natural hot springs.
In recent years, our knowledge of life beneath the waves has been transformed. Using cutting-edge technology, One Ocean takes us on a journey from the intense heat of the tropics to our planet's frozen poles to reveal new worlds and extraordinary never-before-seen animal behaviours.
Britain's best-loved broadcaster brings his favourite extinct creatures back to life in David Attenborough's Natural History Museum Alive. In this ground-breaking film, Sir David takes us on a journey through the world-famous Natural History Museum in London in a captivating tale of discovery, adventure, and magic, where state-of-the-art CGI, science, and research combine to bring the museum's now long-extinct inhabitants to life to discover how these animals once roamed the planet. As the doors are locked and night falls, Attenborough stays behind and meets some of the most fascinating extinct creatures which come alive in front of his eyes; dinosaurs, ice age beasts, and giant reptiles. The film fulfils a lifelong dream of the nation's favourite naturalist, who said: "I have been coming to the Natural History Museum since I was a boy. It's one of the great places to come to learn about natural history. In this film we have the technology to bring back to life some of the most romantic and extraordinary extinct creatures that can be conceived; some are relatively recent animals like the dodo, others older like the dinosaurs, and some we only know through fossil evidence. Using our current scientific knowledge, this film brings these creatures alive, allowing me to look at some of the biggest questions surrounding them."
2013 • Nature
An extraordinary new discovery of a dinosaur fossil so pristine and complete, that it shows off the texture, patterns, and colour of a prehistoric giant. Discover this brand new species that roamed during the late Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta has spent five years and over 7,000 hours preparing the fossil for research and display.
Captured in a single, animated time lapsed shot, and based on archeological findings, we trace our epic journey from the first spark of life billions of years ago up to our present status as the most successful species on the planet. Humans are the pinnacle of a chain of species that has survived by way of evolution, natural selection, adaptation, and pure luck. From the formation of primordial genetic material to the development of speech, this is the improbable story of the incredible set of circumstances that led to human existence.
The second episode of Andrew Marr's exploration of Darwin explores the impact of Darwin’s ideas on society and politics. Darwin’s first port of call on the Beagle was Salvador in Brazil – then a major port for the international slave trade. His experience there confirmed his enlightenment views of liberty and progress and his hatred of slavery. But his theory of evolution that began to take root on that epic voyage would describe a world of conflict, ruthless competition and struggle. It would be taken up and abused by some of the most reactionary movements of the late-19th and 20th centuries. The phrase “survival of the fittest” would help propel Darwin’s theory as a scientific justification for eugenics, enforced sterilisation and genocide. But after the Second World War, Darwin’s theory finds redemption in the United Nations statement on race which confirms Darwin’s long-held view that all humans are members of the same race and deserving of equal treatment. This is further reinforced in the extraordinary work of a small Jewish community in New York who used DNA testing and a voluntary and anonymous form of selective breeding to eliminate a debilitating disease from the Jewish community. DNA testing is the final frontier of Darwin’s Dangerous idea. But the lessons from history suggest that the new choices we face about what to do with the knowledge Darwin has given us when combined with genetics and DNA testing remains a major social and political challenge.
A group of world-renowned scientists are on a quest to uncover the secrets of the most significant day in our planet's history: the day that killed the dinosaurs. 66 million years ago an asteroid the size of London hit the planet in the modern-day Gulf of Mexico. Now, as co-leaders of an expedition to drill deep into the Chicxulub asteroid impact crater, Geologists Sean Gulick and Jo Morgan have set out to answer how this resulted in the extinction of dinosaurs.
Making of David Attenborough’s Galapagos, which is aired first, offers an unrivalled and actually far more interesting view of the dramas that went into capturing all that footage. The way all the shots have been so calmly edited together makes the process look so effortless, but nothing could be further from the truth. There are broken helicopters and broken camera cables that threaten the whole enterprise and the grunting of mating tortoises that threaten to drown out Attenborough’s pieces to camera. This making of programme also includes the discovery of a previously unknown species of pink iguana, as well as the final television appearance of the last-remaining member of another species – the iconic long-necked tortoise known as Lonesome George. “He’s about 80 years old and he’s getting a bit creaky in his joints,” whispers Attenborough. “As indeed am I.”
No two islands in the Galapagos are the same. The imperceptible drift of a continental plate keeps each island biologically isolated. David Attenborough explores this evolutionary crucible, encountering tortoises that weigh up to half a tonne, finches that use tools and lizards that communicate using press-ups; for Darwin, this was all evidence for his theory of evolution. We see the final footage of the world famous tortoise fondly known as Lonesome George, the last survivor of his species. David Attenborough was the last person to have ever filmed with him. Darwin’s famous visit had a downside – the arrival of man. David investigates the impact we’ve had in these islands, as our influence is a double-edged sword. We’ve disrupted the natural balance but he also believes Darwin would be thrilled with the advances we have made in science. We’re also now uncovering evidence that evolution is more rapid than Darwin could ever have imagined. Whatever wonders the Galapagos Islands hold today, they are only a hint of what awaits them in the future.
The islands of the Galapagos rose explosively from the ocean four million years ago. Although life would not seem viable in such a remote Pacific outpost, the first arrivals landed as the fires still burned. David Attenborough explores the islands for the animals and plants that descend from these pioneers: from the sea birds carrying the seeds that made a tentative foothold on these rocks, to equator-dwelling penguins and a dancing bird with blue feet. This is a story of treacherous journeys, life-forms that forged unlikely companionships, and surviving against all odds. It is the story of an evolutionary melting pot in which anything and everything is possible.
In what turns out to be an explosive year, witness Iceland through the eyes of the animals and people that have made this wild island home. An arctic fox family must eke out a cliff-top living, an eider farmer has his hands full playing duck dad to hundreds of new arrivals and Viking horsemen prepare to saddle up for the autumn round up. But nature's clock is ticking, and the constant volcanic threat eventually boils over with one of Iceland's biggest eruptions in more than 200 years. This land of ice and fire will not be tamed.
As a boy, frogs were the first animals Sir David Attenborough kept and today he is still just as passionate about them. Through his eyes, the weird and wonderful world of frogs is explored, shedding new light on these charismatic, colourful and frequently bizarre creatures. David reveals all aspects of the frogs' life, their anatomy, their extraordinary behaviour and their ability to live in some of the most extreme places on the planet, as he goes on an eye-opening journey into the fabulous lives of frogs.
David Attenborough narrates this astonishing story of a wild cheetah family. Known for being fast, captivating and extremely elusive, a new insight into their remarkable lives is offered by cameraman Kim Wolhuter. For nearly two years, he walked alongside a wild cheetah mother and her young family to unravel in intimate detail what it takes to turn tiny cubs into accomplished predators.
The final episode deals with the evolution of the most widespread and dominant species on Earth: humans. The story begins in Africa, where, some 10 million years ago, apes descended from the trees and ventured out into the open grasslands in search of food. They slowly adapted to the habitat and grew in size. Their acute sense of vision led to them standing erect to spot predators, leaving their hands free to bear weapons. In addition, the primitive apemen also had stones that were chipped into cutting tools. Slowly, they grew taller and more upright, and their stone implements became ever more elaborate.
This programme surveys mammal herbivores and their predators. The herbivores began to populate the forests when the dinosaurs disappeared, and many took to gathering food at night. To prepare for winter, some store it in vast quantities, some hibernate and others make do as best they can. However, the carnivores joined them, and when a drying climate triggered the spread of grass, they followed their prey out on to the plains. Grass is not easily digestible and most animals that eat it have to regurgitate it and chew the cud. Out in the open, the leaf-eaters had to develop means of protection.
This episode continues the study of mammals, and particularly those whose young gestate inside their bodies. Attenborough asks why these have become so varied and tries to discover the common theme that links them. Examples of primitive mammals that are still alive today include the treeshrew, the desman and the star-nosed mole. Insect eaters vary enormously from the aardvark, giant anteater and pangolin to those to which much of this programme is devoted: the bats, of which there are nearly 1,000 different species. These took to flying at night, and its possible that they evolved from treeshrews that jumped from tree to tree, in much the same way as a flying squirrel.
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.
This episode is devoted to the evolution of reptiles. They are not as restricted as their amphibian ancestors, since they can survive in the hottest climates. The reason is their scaly, practically watertight skin. The scales protect the body from wear and tear and in the case of some species of lizard, such as the Australian thorny devil, serve to protect from attack. The horned iguana from the West Indies is also one of the most heavily armoured. The skin is rich in pigment cells, which provide effective means of camouflage, and the chameleon is a well-known example. Temperature control is important to reptiles: they cant generate body heat internally or sweat to keep cool.
The next instalment describes the move from water to land. The fish that did so may have been forced to because of drought, or chose to in search of food. Either way, they eventually evolved into amphibians. Such creatures needed two things: limbs for mobility and lungs to breathe. The coelacanth is shown as a fish with bony fins that could have developed into legs, and the lungfish is able to absorb gaseous oxygen. However, evidence of an animal that possessed both is presented in the 450 million-year-old fossilised remains of a fish called a eusthenopteron. Three groups of amphibians are explored.
This programme looks at the evolution of fish. They have developed a multitude of shapes, sizes and methods of propulsion and navigation. The sea squirt, the lancelet and the lamprey are given as examples of the earliest, simplest types. Then, about 400 million years ago, the first back-boned fish appeared. The Kimberley Ranges of Western Australia are, in fact, the remnants of a coral reef and the ancient seabed. There, Attenborough discovers fossils of the earliest fish to have developed jaws. These evolved into two shapes of creature with cartilaginous skeletons: wide ones (like rays and skates) and long ones (like sharks).
This episode details the relationship between flowers and insects. There are some one million classified species of insect, and two or three times as many that are yet to be labelled. Around 300 million years ago, plants began to enlist insects to help with their reproduction, and they did so with flowers. Although the magnolia, for instance, contains male and female cells, pollination from another plant is preferable as it ensures greater variation and thus evolution. Flowers advertise themselves by either scent or display. Some evolved to produce sweet-smelling nectar and in turn, several insects developed their mouth parts into feeding tubes in order to reach it.
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.
The next programme explores the various sea-living invertebrates. In Morocco, the limestones are 600 million years old, and contain many invertebrate fossils. They fall broadly into three categories: shells, crinoids and segmented shells. The evolution of shelled creatures is demonstrated with the flatworm, which eventually changed its body shape when burrowing became a necessity for either food or safety. It then evolved shielded tentacles and the casings eventually enveloped the entire body: these creatures are the brachiopods. The most successful shelled animals are the molluscs, of which there are some 80,000 different species.
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.
For most of the Earth's history, life consisted of the simplest organisms; but then something happened that would give rise to staggering diversity, and, ultimately, life as complex as that which we see today. Scientists are still struggling to figure out just what that was.
A behind-the-scenes special offering an insider's look at Sir David Attenborough's innovative series exploring the macroscopic world of bugs. David reveals how the film-makers got up close with the insect and arachnid world for the innovative documentary series
Watching the fascinating display of leafcutter ants at the Natural History Museum in London is one of my favourite ways to while away a few hours, but David Attenborough is operating on a much grander scale here in the last in the series. In Argentina he observes some cousins of the leafcutters who are part of a community so vast it spans an entire continent. It’s one of the mandible-dropping facts in a look at one of the key inventions of arthropods: colonies. From termites and honey bees to the leafcutters, it seems that if you want to get ahead, you move to the big city.
While most of the series has focused on conflict, this episode is all about co-operation. The suitably named social spiders spin one enormous, 30m web for the whole colony, a queen bee rules her hive with a strict hierarchy and some green ants show great team spirit to help build a nest together. There are no broken societies here. David Attenborough shifts the focus to bugs that prefer cooperation rather than conflict. They include burrowing cockroaches, the suitably named social spiders - which share a 30-metre web.
A close-up view of sex, bug-style, as David Attenborough talks viewers through the different ways in which creepy-crawlies reproduce. Size matters for the minuscule male orb spider, creepily sneaking up on its intended and trying to mate without her noticing, while there's no rest for the lothario-like butterfly, which has plenty of notches on its proverbial bedpost. However, the harvestman spider has no use for sex at all, and reproduces by cloning itself.
It’s sexy time with the arthropods! This week David Attenborough takes a look at the courtship rituals of the creatures beneath our feet. But lovebugs won’t want to take tips from these bugs. The male Chilean rose tarantula, for instance, weaves a silk mat; deposits sperm on it, then sucks that sperm into a finger-like appendage near his mouth before he looks for a mate. Then there’s the gruesome, but surprisingly effective, coupling of praying mantis. The cinematography is as amazing as ever, catching the mating battles of tramp ants and providing luminescent footage of the courtship dance of Tanzanian red claw scorpions.
The broadcaster continues his bug-eyed view of the world of creepy-crawlies, revealing how predators defuse the defences of their prey. Highlights include the cockroach wasp, busy preparing a tasty - and very live - treat for its young, the whirligig beetle, which employs a water-based radar system, and the jumping Portia spider, which feeds on other arachnids.
David Attenborough employs the latest technologies to explore the violence, rivalries and deadly weaponry existing within the world of bugs. This first episode examines the survival tactics of its terrifying residents including killer ants, trap-setting spiders and beetles with the ability to shoot boiling chemicals at their enemies.
The Pray will immerse you into the forested world of the dead leaf mantis. This action packed film boasts incredibly unique and dynamic shots. Fly through the forest with flies, witness the cunning behavior between the mantis and the hawk and experience a hunt like you’ve never seen before. Using stunning cinematography we divulge the truth of a catch and behold the incredible way a mantis devours its prey. It’s everything a fantasy movie would have except this time, it’s real.
2017 • Nature
A fascinating look at the secret, underground world of the ant colony in a way that has never been seen before. At its heart is a massive, full-scale ant nest, specially-designed and built to allow cameras to see its inner workings. The nest is a new home for a million-strong colony of leafcutter ants from Trinidad. For a month, entomologist Dr George McGavin and leafcutter expert Professor Adam Hart capture every aspect of the life of the colony, using time-lapse cameras, microscopes, microphones and radio tracking technology. The ants instantly begin to forage, farm, mine and build. Within weeks, the colony has established everything from nurseries to gardens to graveyards. The programme explores how these tiny insects can achieve such spectacular feats of collective organisation. This unique project reveals the workings of one of the most complex and mysterious societies in the natural world and shows the surprising ways in which ants are helping us solve global problems.
2013 • Nature
Plants amazingly dominate this green world by employing poisons, recruiting defensive armies, feeding off the dead and using animals for pollination and seed dispersal. For predators this world presents exceptional challenges, not only in finding prey in such a tangled place, but in how to deal with the toxins that so many animals and plants are laced with.
Africa's coasts were formed by the break-up of Gondwanaland 100 million years ago. They define the familiar shape of this special continent, and touch on a variety of environments including deserts, mountains, forests, wetlands and savannahs. Wild Africa takes us back in time to witness the birth of Africa and also carries us on a spectacular journey around the edge of the continent.
As a whole, Africa is a dry continent with deserts dominating the landscape. Wild Africa explores how these deserts were created, and the amazing ways in which animals and plants have evolved to cope with the meagre and unpredictable rainfall, intense solar radiation, shortages of food and lack of shelter. By traveling through the African deserts, Wild Africa reveals that given enough time, a diverse variety of animals and plants can make a living in even the harshest conditions.
The savannah is home to some of the greatest herds on Earth, and in this episode, Wild Africa brings you close encounters with these animals. The savannah is Africa's youngest landscape, shaped by the weather and the animals themselves as the continent dried. It is now home to baboons, wildebeest, lions, cheetah, and aardvarks who must struggle through the eight-month dry season to survive.
This episode looks at Africa's mountain ranges. From the giant mole rats of the Ethiopian Highlands to the Barbary Macaque monkeys of the Atlas Mountains, this episode gives a fascinating look at the mountains of Africa and the animals that inhabit them.
Reconstructing a dinosaur skeleton for a museum is a balance between art and science - but getting that balance right is a tricky diplomatic, as well as scientific, process. Presenter and anatomist Dr. Alice Roberts follows the reconstruction of L.A.'s Natural History Museum's 2011 dinosaur exhibit.
2011 • Nature
The NHK team that captured the world's first footage of a live giant squid in its natural habitat is setting out for another deep-sea adventure. They will give us a look at the amazing life forms with luminous bodies that have survived the harsh, pitch-dark deep sea environment of the Pacific.
The same submarine which successfully captured the world’s first moving images of a giant squid in its natural habitat is used for exploring the deep sea cliffs off the coast of New Guinea. The team encounters true living fossil species one after another. Join this exciting deep sea adventure!
Using a specially designed hive, with a formidable arsenal of cutting-edge technology to monitor the bees, we enter the bees' miniature world. Chris and Martha also put to the test the very latest scientific findings about bees, to discover why they are one of the most incredible creatures on our planet.
As the Ganges nears the sea, it joins its mightiest tributary the Brahmaputra, creating a vast flood-prone delta. Here the bustling cities of Calcutta and Dhaka meet the wetlands, home to giant lizards and snakes, huge mean-eating crocodiles and forests full of monkeys. This is a story of human life persisting in wildly variable conditions in a domain that is still the preserve of the royal Bengal tiger.
From earthquakes to tsunamis to volcanic eruptions, natural disasters are both terrifying and fascinating - providing endless fresh material for documentary makers. But how well do disaster documentaries keep pace with the scientific theories that advance every day? To try and answer that question, Professor Danielle George is plunging into five decades of BBC archive. What she uncovers provides an extraordinary insight into one of the fastest moving branches of knowledge. From the legendary loss of Atlantis to the eruption that destroyed Pompeii, Danielle reveals how film-makers have changed their approach again and again in the light of new scientific theories. While we rarely associate Britain with major natural disaster, at the end of the programme Danielle brings us close to home, exploring programmes which suggest that 400 years ago Britain was hit by a tidal wave that killed hundreds of people, and that an even bigger tsunami could threaten us again.
Oxygen – we all need it, we can't live without it. It's integral to life on this planet. And it's probable that, as you watch this film, you will be breathing in an oxygen atom that was also breathed by Genghis Khan – or by the first ever apes to stand upright on the plains of Africa. The oxygen that we breathe is made from two oxygen atoms joined together – O2. They were first joined more than 3 billion years ago by the earliest blue-green algae to evolve. The oxygen molecule first came from bacteria and was present in the fires that destroyed the dinosaurs and the chemical reactions in all human cells, and as ozone they protect the earth from radiation. Since then, both together and apart, they've had the most extraordinary adventures. Each of the two atoms in an oxygen molecule is virtually indestructible – so they have been first-hand players in some of the most dramatic events in the whole of Earth's history. It's often said that we are breathing the same oxygen that the cavemen did. The life of a single molecule of oxygen is traced on it's astonishing journey spanning millions of years, from its creation, into photosynthesis, through the age of the dinosaurs, early man, and on into today.
2008 • Nature
The British back garden is a familiar setting, but underneath the peonies and petunias is a much wilder hidden world, a miniature Serengeti, with beauty and brutality in equal measure. Chris Packham and a team of wildlife experts spend an entire year exploring every inch of a series of interlinked back gardens in Welwyn Garden City. They want to answer a fundamental question: how much wildlife lives beyond our back doors? How good for wildlife is the great British garden? Through all four seasons, Chris reveals a stranger side to some of our more familiar garden residents. In summer he meets a very modern family of foxes - with a single dad in charge - and finds that a single fox litter can have up to five different fathers. In winter he shows that a robin's red breast is actually war paint. And finally, in spring he finds a boiling ball of frisky frogs in a once-in-a-year mating frenzy. The secret lives of the gardens' smallest residents are even weirder. The team finds male crickets that bribe females with food during sex, spiders that change colour to help catch prey, and life-and-death battles going on under our noses in the compost heap. So how many different species call our gardens home? How well do our gardens support wildlife? By the end of the year, with the help of a crack team from London's Natural History Museum and some of the country's top naturalists, Chris will find out. He'll also discover which type of garden attracts the most wildlife. The results are not what you might expect... You'll never look at your garden in quite the same way again.
2017 • Nature
The Cretaceous was the golden age on ancient Earth. Magnificent and terrifying dinosaurs like Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus ruled the land. But they were all wiped out in an instant by one of the most powerful impacts our Earth has ever endured -- a collision with an asteroid!
After the Permian period, the epic saga of evolution and extinction on Earth produced the world's first dinosaurs, plesiosaurs and pterosaurs. They dominated land, sea and air until another period of extreme volcanism generated vast waves of lava and toxic gas and killed roughly 75% of all species.
How have some plants managed to live 5000 years? They are masters of photosynthesis and have survived on trips into space. In fact, there are now "plantimals". Perhaps it is time we learned more from plants about our world and how to live in it as partners.
Investigates the greatest vanishing act in the history of our planet - the sudden disappearance of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Experts suspect that the dinosaurs were wiped out after a city-sized asteroid smashed into the Gulf of Mexico causing a huge crater. But until now, they haven't had any proof. In a world first, evolutionary biologist Ben Garrod joins a multi-million pound drilling expedition into the exact spot the asteroid hit to get hard evidence of the link. The team overcomes huge obstacles as it attempts to drill 1,500 metres beneath sea level to pull up rock from the Chicxulub crater.
2017 • Nature
Human mothers raise fetuses inside their wombs and breast feed their babies for a long time after birth. What made humans evolve so that we raise our children so affectionately? The latest research reveals an unexpected origin of mothers' affection toward their children. Scientists believe that our ancestors experienced unforeseen dramatic changes in DNA under threats of extinction. These DNA changes caused humans to be devoted to raising children. Learn about the scientific interpretation of the evolutionary roots of your affectionate bonds with your kids.
Five hundred million years ago, our previously eyeless distant ancestral creatures suddenly developed eyes, thereby marking a dramatic leap in evolution. What enabled our ancestors to suddenly evolve with eyes has been a long-unresolved great mystery in the history of our life. Now, scientists are close to cracking the mystery of the amazing story of the birth of our eyes, using cutting-edge DNA research. Travel back to a super realistic prehistoric world recreated by CGI to witness the astonishing story behind the birth of our eyes.
In the culmination of this 1,000km scientific expedition aboard the Alucia, Liz Bonnin and the team of scientific experts journey south to visit the oldest islands in the Galapagos to see first-hand the impact that humans have had on this pristine wilderness. Back on the larger island of Isabela, where her journey first began, Liz descends into a spectacular vertical lava cave. Deep inside, she discovers how this hidden world could even provide an answer to how it might be possible to inhabit other planets. On her last land-based stop, on Santa Cruz, Liz comes face to face with the effects of man as she explores the magical misty scalesia forests and meets scientists who are tracking the invasive species spreading throughout the islands. It is here that she also checks in on a giant tortoise population whose ancient migration pathways have come under threat from the largest human population on the archipelago, and meets a man on a mission to protect this iconic creature. Finally, Liz dives into the deep blue waters to witness the birth of a brand new island. Coming full circle, Liz and the team are able to reflect on the importance of their missions which will help to protect the Galapagos and its extraordinary wildlife in the future. In an ever-changing world, what we learn now from these incredible living natural wonders and what we can pass on to future generations has never been more important.
They cannot tolerate sunlight; some of them are even blind. However they are one of the world's most ingenious builders: Termites. They build high-risers that are, relatively speaking, 25 times higher than the Empire State Building in New York. They are the only animals that have managed to build an air-conditioning system without electricity. Their nests are architectural masterpieces that rise up to eight meters from the ground and contain brood chambers for larvae, corridors for transportation and fungal gardens for nutrition. Termites - The Inner Sanctum takes us along a journey into another world. Visit the skillfully built termite mounds in the savannah, termite nests in the tropical rainforest with their colossal columns of termites foraging for food - and the termites that wreak terrible damage to wood-framed homes. Filmed in the US, Kenya and Borneo.
2011 • Nature
Africa's wildest river is home to the most spectacular wildlife. Hippos fight for territory while herds of elephant, water buffalo and zebra depend on it for life. In the wet season the rains burst the riverbanks and everyone, including people, must move whilst fish swim through the villages. In the dry season the creatures fight over the few pools of water while predators prowl. At its heart it plunges over Victoria Falls and into wild ravines before draining into the Indian Ocean, where storm clouds cycle the water back into the heart of Africa.
The highly anticipated sequel to Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike sees award-winning film-maker Terry Abraham return to the Lake District to showcase 'the people's mountain' - Blencathra. This spectacular documentary looks at the lives of local residents, school children and visitors to the mountain with contributions from comedian Ed Byrne, broadcaster Stuart Maconie, mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE and record-breaking fell runner Steve Birkinshaw. Abraham's breathtaking photography and stunning time-lapse sequences of this unique landscape will inspire newcomers and regular visitors alike.
2017 • Nature
Our world is the home of millions of plant as well as animal species and provides several territories, each with its own geological and climatic conditions: steep mountains, deep forests, wide oceans and arctic ice deserts. The inhabitants have adapted to its different conditions and are still developing new strategies to survive. “Wonderful World” not only takes a look at the interesting creatures of our planet, but also highlights cosmological circumstances, which made our world unique, diversified and above all so adorable.
2015 • Nature
Undercover cameras help to explore the world of animal intelligence, ingenuity and creativity in their hunting, protection and health. Spy Orang-utan meets her real-life counterparts in Borneo to capture how, living close to local people, they have gained unexpected skills in sawing wood and washing with soap, while Spy Termite catches one of the world's cleverest animal tricksters, the drongo, as he tries to outwit a group of meerkats in the battle for food.
Spy Pup is immersed in wild dog life to explore their maternal love, and Spy Penguin records the turbulent action of the mating season, as a male Adelie penguin falls victim to a pebble thief that ruins his chances of love for the season. Spy Tortoise and Spy Bushbaby keep watch on chimpanzees, while in perhaps the most moving scenes; Spy Monkey becomes the focus of attention for a troop of concerned langurs who believe the motionless camera-creature has died.
Patrick follows the grizzly bears that are taking a risk with the weather by leaving their winter dens early. Hungry wolves are struggling to bring down their elk prey in the unusually shallow snow. And for great grey owls, it is the iciness of the snow that is hampering their hunts. Yellowstone's winter is always one of the most brutal on the planet. But 2016 saw weather records broken, and the wildlife was forced to adapt to survive. Kate Humble gets to grips with the science behind this remarkable season, from understanding the importance of the snowpack's structure as the melt begins to uncovering why Yellowstone's unique geology poses problems for some grazer's teeth.
Winter is here. Ready or not, creatures big and small endure the harshest and most unforgiving season on the planet. Some cling to life in these bitter months…while others see opportunity on the ice. In this special, wildlife around the globe fights tooth and nail to survive the winter season, against a striking frozen backdrop.
2017 • Nature
From the shelter of our homes, snow looks magical, but it's a harsh reality to many animals. Snow means freezing temperatures, which these animals must endure for many months. Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan meets some of the world's most iconic snow animals across the globe, from the penguins of Antarctica to the bison of Yellowstone and the Arctic fox. Beyond the Arctic Circle in northern Norway, he encounters wolves, lynx, reindeer, polar bears, muskox, and even a woolly bear - the most miraculous, coolest Arctic caterpillar! Buchanan reveals the incredible adaptations and extraordinary strategies these animals use to survive.
2017 • Nature
Huge changes have swept across Arabia since the discovery of oil and the Arab relationship with nature has changed too. This is summed up by the changes to camel racing, now an ultra hi-tech sport. Arabia's animals now live alongside a very modern society but Arabia's people are using technology to protect nature: dugongs are fitted with satellite transmitters; hunting falcons chase down radio-controlled planes and the world's first carbon-neutral city is being built in the very heart of oil country.
Few places on earth evoke more mystery and romance than Arabia. This enters the forbidding wilderness and reveals a magical cast of characters. From the snow-white oryx that inspired the myth of the unicorn to the long-legged jerboa leaping ten times its own body length through the star-filled Arabian nights. Horned vipers hunt glow-in-the-dark scorpions, while Bedouin nomads race their camels across the largest sand desert in the world.
Helen reveals the latest scientific insights into icebergs. From side-scanning sonar that scrutinises the edge of glaciers where icebergs are born, to satellite images that show how icebergs create hotspots for life and eyewitness pictures that give us a unique glimpse of how they transform over time, we can now capture on camera the mysteries of icebergs - and how their lifecycle is intricately linked to our changing planet.
Dr Helen Czerski peers into the heart of the storm to find out how advances in technology are giving new insight into tornadoes - the fastest winds on the planet. From the breathtaking footage that capture the extreme weather events that produce them, to the latest experiments investigating their incredible destructive power, Helen discovers how understanding the subtle changes deep within the storm are improving predictions of when and where these devastating beasts will strike.
Helen looks at the latest scientific insight into the aurora - dancing lights in the night sky that have fascinated cultures throughout our history. From the networks of cameras now capturing its vast scale, to novel experiments that probe the threat it poses to modern technology, Helen reveals the dramatic transformation in our understanding of the aurora, and the many mysteries that remain to be solved.
Dr Helen Czerski examines the hottest natural phenomena on the planet - lightning. Bolts of lightning five times hotter than the surface of the sun strike our planet over 3 million times every day - and yet we still know little about this deadly force of nature. Now, specialist photography is revealing how lightning travels through the air, high-speed cameras are unlocking the secrets of upward lightning that's triggered by our urban landscapes, and scientific expeditions are capturing rare images of intense electrical discharges over 80 kilometres wide.
Helen looks at volcanoes. With shocking eyewitness footage of eruptions, and new thermal imagery and ultra-high speed photography, we can now capture on camera the complex processes crucial to understanding how and why these forces of nature erupt.
Dr Helen Czerski looks at the anatomy of an avalanche. From shocking eyewitness footage from within an avalanche, to detailed CT scans showing the microscopic changes that cause them, we can now capture exactly what happens as snow transforms into a deadly and unpredictable danger.
Takes us into the world of digestion and its amazingly complex environment.Our health, body shape, mood and even our evolution are determined by the unseen life forms that swarm throughout our bodies. There are worms in your bowels, bacteria in your mouth, fungi in your lungs and even viruses in your DNA.The combined genetic information of all these bugs is more than 150 times greater than our own genes. Their cells outnumber our own by 10 to 1. This collective menagerie is called the microbiome, and in a very real sense, it is the making of us all.
The remote Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland, Australia is home to one of the world's most extraordinary and spectacular meteorological phenomena, the Morning Glory Wave Cloud. Up to two kilometers high and a thousand kilometers long, the Glory is a shock wave in the atmosphere of immense proportions.Join Professor Thomas Peacock from MIT in Boston and Dr. Jorg Hacker from Airborne Research Australia as they journey to Burketown in the remote north of Australia to study this elusive phenomenon and meet the glider pilots who ride the largest wave in the world.
2014 • Nature
The migration of the painted lady has long fascinated scientists, artists and nature lovers alike. The longest butterfly migration on earth, it sees millions of these delicate creatures travel from the desert fringes of north Africa, across thousands of miles of land and sea, before settling in the UK. However, the migration has never truly been understood, the mysteries of the painted lady never unravelled - until now.
2016 • Nature
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
Groundbreaking documentary which follows a Japanese-led team of scientists as they attempt to shed light on the mysterious world of deep sea sharks. Only 50 specimens of the newly discovered 'megamouth' have ever been sighted. Over four years, scientists and film crews voyaged in midget submarines into the depths of Suruga Bay and Sagami Bay to film them. Prehistoric 'living fossil' sharks such as bluntnose sixgill sharks, goblin sharks and frilled sharks also lurk in the bay. As part of the investigation, a sperm whale carcass was placed at the bottom of the bay to attract these sharks, which were then studied and observed from the submersible vessels. Revealing in detail the previously unknown behaviour of deep sea sharks, the film unravels another of the intriguing mysteries of our planet's biodiversity. Narrated by David Attenborough.
2015 • Nature
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.
2011 • Nature
Metamorphosis seems like the ultimate evolutionary magic trick - the amazing transformation of one creature into a totally different being: one life, two bodies. From Ovid to Kafka to X-Men, tales of metamorphosis richly permeate human culture. The myth of transformation is so common that it seems almost pre-programmed into our imagination. But is the scientific fact of metamorphosis just as strange as fiction or... even stranger? Filmmaker David Malone explores the science behind metamorphosis. How does it happen and why? And might it even, in some way, happen to us?
2013 • Nature
Wildlife cameraman Vianet Djenguet returns to his beloved Congo to explore the extraordinary wildlife of this remarkable country. Far from being the dark heart of Africa, Vianet reveals a vibrant, wonderful place full of surprising landscapes, incredible people and amazing animals. Vianet takes us from dramatic coasts to pristine rainforest on a wildlife voyage of discovery, meeting inquisitive baby chimpanzees, majestic forest elephants and elusive lowland gorillas. Seen through the eyes of one of its proudest sons, Vianet offer us a unique insight into his homeland.
2016 • Nature
Did you know that no more than a few dozen people dive the icy waters of the Antarctic each year? However, you’ll get to experience the marvel of diving around huge icebergs for yourself. Plus, come eye to eye with a 3.5 metre leopard seal as this deceptively placid-looking killer strikes. Your heart will race!
Slip through millennia-old caves in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. These spooky, labyrinth-like places were considered magical as early as the Mayan era. Plus you can hitch a ride with sucker fish, dodge gigantic ocean devil fish and be entranced by the dance of a majestic 6-metre long manta ray.
Take a nerve-wracking dive with great white sharks as they feast on millions of sardines that fall into their trap; it’s one of the most spectacular underwater phenomenons on the planet! Plus you’ll get to patrol reefs with vigilant soldierfish, dance with balletic jellyfish and more!
Sail the stunning Azores as large shoals of migrating humpback whales visit its waters. A sight to behold! Plus spot the symbol of the islands, giant sperm whales. These majestic protected creatures are the biggest tourist attraction of the Azores.
Make way for the ocean’s biggest fish – a whale shark! This awe-inspiring gentle giant feeds on plankton and can reach 18 metres in length. Plus, get a dose of adrenaline as you swim with thousands of hammerhead sharks that gather in massive pulse-quickening shoals in the famous Galapagos Islands!
Visit the Bismarck Sea, a region forgotten by civilisation, where life goes on in harmony with nature as it has for thousands of years, untouched by the troubles of the modern world. You’ll dive amongst the eerie wrecks of WWII planes and ships, navigate darkness-shrouded caves and dodge swift-moving reef sharks.
Encounter huge shoals of barracuda in Malaysia, fantastic meadows of coral in the Philippines and strange, miniature creatures inhabiting Indonesian reefs. Plus you’ll have to watch for deadly blue-ringed octopus and much more. Simply sublime!
New Zealand was one of the last land masses to be found and settled by people. Lush and fertile, almost everything brought here flourishes, often with surprising consequences. Told through the experiences of its native species - in particular, a charismatic and peculiar giant, flightless parrot - this is the moving story of the changing fortunes of New Zealand's wildlife since humans first arrived.
The most extreme and wild parts of New Zealand are in the South Island, which lie towards Antarctica, in the path of the tempestuous 'roaring forties'. This is home to some of the most rapidly rising mountains in the world, the Southern Alps. From hyper-intelligent parrots to sinister snails with teeth and magical constellations of glow-worms, this is the story of New Zealand's wildest places and its most resilient pioneers, all of whom must embrace radical solutions to survive.
In this final episode Professor Brian Cox travels to Iceland, where the delicate splendour of a moonbow reveals the colours that paint our world, and he visits a volcano to explain why the sun shines. By exploring how sunlight transforms the plains of the Serengeti, drives the annual migration of humpback whales to the Caribbean and paints the moon red during a lunar eclipse, Brian reveals the colour signature of our life-supporting planet. Finally, at an observatory high in the Swiss Alps, he shows how these colours aren't simply beautiful, but that understanding how they're created is allowing us to search for other Earths far out in the cosmos.
In this episode, Professor Brian Cox shows how Earth's basic ingredients, like the pure sulphur mined in the heart of a deadly volcano in Indonesia, have become the building blocks of life. Hidden deep in a cave in the Dominican Republic lies a magical world created by the same property of water that makes it essential to life. Clinging to a precipitous dam wall in Italy, baby mountain goats seek out Earth's chemical elements essential to their survival. In the middle of the night in a bay off Japan, Brian explains how the dazzling display of thousands of glowing squid shows how life has taken Earth's chemistry and turned it into the chemistry of life.
Professor Brian Cox follows Earth's epic journey through space. He takes to the air in a top-secret fighter jet to race the spin of the planet and reverse the passage of the day. In Brazil, a monstrous wave that surges up the Amazon River provides an epic ride of a different kind - chased by a top surfer through the rainforest, this tidal wave marks Earth's constant dance with the Moon. Greenland experiences some of the biggest swings in seasons in the world, but despite the deep freeze, the harsh winter brings opportunity to the Inuit people who live there. All this spectacle here on Earth signals that we are thundering through the universe at breakneck speed. Brian explains why we can't feel it and how understanding motion brings us to understanding the nature of space and time itself, leading to the astonishing conclusion that the past, present and future all exist right now.
In this episode Brian uncovers how the stunning diversity of shapes in the natural world are shadows of the rules that govern the universe. In Spain he shows how an attempt by hundreds of people to build the highest human tower reveals the force that shapes our planet. In Nepal, honey hunters seek out giant beehives that cling to cliff walls. The perfect hexagonal honeycombs made by the bees to store their honey conceal a mathematical rule. Off the coast of Canada, Brian explains how some of the most irregular, dangerous shapes in nature - massive icebergs that surge down from Greenland and into shipping lanes of the Atlantic - emerge from a powerful yet infinitely small force of nature. Even the most delicate six-sided snowflake tells a story of the forces of nature that forged it.
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.
2016 • Nature
The sound of the cuckoo is to many the very essence of spring, yet behind the magical call is a bird that is a cheat, a thief and a killer. Just how does the cuckoo trick other birds into accepting its eggs and raising its young? Why don't the duped foster parents react as they watch the baby cuckoo destroy their own eggs and chicks? And why do they work so relentlessly to feed a demanding chick that looks nothing like them and will soon dwarf them? In this film, new photography is combined with archive footage and the latest scientific findings to solve a puzzle which, as narrator David Attenborough explains, has perplexed nature watchers for thousands of years.
This episode details the origins of the vertebrates, which lie in the primitive fish that once swam in ancient seas. Remarkable advances allowed them to make the radical move onto land, and then take to the skies with the advent of flight. Brand new discoveries of fossils - ancient and living - combined with stunning CGI enable David to chart their unexpected journey out of the water to populate all corners of the globe.
To survive, animals need somewhere to live, a place that provides the necessities of life, shelter from the elements and a refuge from enemies. Good homes are rare and competition can be intense – finding a home is one thing, but defending it is quite another.
In the final challenge of the game of life, raising offspring is the ultimate prize. Continuing the line through the next generation, is the next best thing to immortality. But it’s far from easy... Some parents must risk their own lives for their offspring.
In a revelatory look at Svalbard, the most northerly region in the series, Steve Backshall leaves no stone unturned as he unravels the secrets that lie covered in ice for most of each year. Svalbard is cold, dark and foreboding, yet it is home to the world's largest land predator and the most northerly population of large herbivore, but Steve discovers that the real secret to this place comes from a very different world.
Steve Backshall tries to discover just what makes it possible for a river to stop in the middle of a desert. The Okavango is the world's largest inland delta and home to a one of Africa's greatest congregations of wildlife, and in asking the difficult questions Steve reveals the astounding secret to its existence.
Monterey Bay on California's coast is one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world, its giant kelp forest bursting with life, from microscopic plankton to visiting ocean giants. The secret key to success in such a busy microworld is balance. Steve Backshall guides us through the unique geography of the bay and introduces some of its key characters in a quest to find the one species that keeps life in the kelp forest in check.
Steve Backshall lifts the lid on an incredible world of intricate relationships and unexpected hardship in the Amazon rainforest, explores the way that the jungle's inhabitants interact, and reveals a hidden secret that might just be what keeps the whole place alive.
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?
A visit to arguably the most famous archipelago on Earth, the Galapagos. It's home to a myriad of bizarre and unique creatures, endemic to these islands - but how did they get here and what is the key to these extraordinary islands that allows them to thrive? The programme reveals that this key holds not just the secret to life here, but also to how Darwin was able to leave with the ideas that would revolutionise biology.
A captivating world of creepy crawlies exists all around us. And they are the biggest group of animals in the world, outnumbering humans 200 million to one. Thanks to millions of years of evolution, these invertebrates not only survive in almost every landscape known to man, but also thrive by means of fascinating, and sometimes bizarre adaptations. There's the Bombardier beetle that squirts a boiling hot liquid from its anus, the Assassin bug that turns its victims into soup, and the Parasitic wasp that lays her eggs inside her victims, until her young are ready to eat their way out. We end off with the biggest bugs on the planet: the Atlas moth with a wingspan of over 20 centimetres, the Hercules beetle that can carry 850 times its own weight, and the Giant centipede - big enough to catch flying bats from midair!
2015 • Nature
The Taiga forest, on the edge of the Arctic, is a silent world of stunted conifers. The trees may be small but filming from the air reveals its true scale. A third of all trees on Earth grow here and during the short summer they produce enough oxygen to change the atmosphere.
A humpback whale mother and calf embark on an epic journey from tropical coral paradises to storm ravaged polar seas. Newly discovered coral reefs in Indonesia reveal head-butting pygmy seahorses, flashing 'electric' clams and bands of sea kraits, 30-strong, which hunt in packs. Elsewhere plagues of sea urchins fell forests of giant kelp. Huge bull fur seals attack king penguins, who despite their weight disadvantage, put up a spirited defence.
The Arctic and Antarctic experience the most extreme seasons on Earth. Time-lapse cameras watch a colony of emperor penguins, transforming them into a singleorganism. The film reveals new science about the dynamics of emperor penguin behaviour. In the north, unique aerial images show a polar bear swimming more than 100km. Diving for up to two minutes at a time. The exhausted polar bear later attacks a herd of walrus in a true clash of the Titans.
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.
The Cave of Swallows in Mexico is a 400m vertical shaft, deep enough to engulf the Empire State Building. The Lechuguilla cave system in the USA is 193km long and 500m deep with astonishing crystal formations hanging from its chambers. Although often overlooked, caves are remarkable habitats with equally bizarre wildlife. Cave angel fish cling to the walls behind cave waterfalls with microscopic hooks on their flattened fins. Cave swiftlets navigate by echo-location and build nests out of saliva. The Texas cave salamander has neither eyes nor pigment. Unique access to a hidden world of stalactites, stalagmites, snotites and troglodytes brings a wealth of surprises.
Fresh water is our most precious resource and it defines the distribution of life on land. Follow the descent of rivers from their mountain sources to the sea. Watch spectacular waterfalls, fly inside the Grand Canyon and explore the wildlife below the ice in the world's deepest lake. Witness unique and dramatic moments of animal behaviour: a showdown between smooth-coated otters and mugger crocodiles; deep-diving long tailed macaques; massive flocks of snow geese on the wing and a piranha frenzy in the perilous waters of the world's largest wetland.
Welcome to an extreme landscape of rock, ice and snow. We tour the mightiest mountain ranges, starting with the birth of a mountain at one of the lowest places on Earth and ending at the summit of Everest. Find out how some of the most secretive animals rise to the challenge of mountain life. Share one of Earth's rarest phenomena, a lava lake that has been erupting for over 100 years. The same forces built the Simian Mountains where we find troops of gelada baboons nearly a thousand strong. In the Rockies, grizzlies build winter dens inside avalanche-prone slopes and climb the peaks to devour abundant summer moths. In another world first, the programme brings us astounding images of a snow leopard hunting on the Pakistan peaks.
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.
2016 • Nature
Animal Reunions have captured the imaginations of millions of people worldwide. YouTube is full of animal reunion stories - moments that illustrate and capture genuine affection and emotion between and among species. These rare moments provide a fleeting window into the emotional capacities of animals and their ability to form bonds with humans. But can wild animals really feel joy, devotion and love? Most animal lovers are convinced that they do, and now scientists are beginning to agree as we discover the stories that bring those animal emotions to life. We meet orphaned elephants in Kenya who have learned to trust their nursery keepers even after they lost their families at the hand of man - and witness a deep bond revealed as the head keeper travels to the National Park to see if his fully grown elephants remember him. We meet Damian Aspinall, the first man to release a captive-bred family of gorillas back to the wild, and see his reunion with one of those gorillas, proving a bond that may last a lifetime. We also meet Jane Goodall, the legendary chimpanzee researcher who was once heavily criticized for her claims about animal emotions; and Rebeca Atencia, the veterinarian who runs a Congolese chimp sanctuary set up by Goodall, as she travels to find the orphan chimpanzee she raised and released back into the wild. Through these incredible stories about human-animal relationships, illuminated by interviews with some of the world's most eminent ethologists and academics, this film sets out to question not only the emotional intelligence of animals but the so-called divide between us and them.
As Sir David Attenborough turns 90, this intimate film presents new interviews, eye-opening behind-the-scenes footage and extraordinary clips from some of his most recent films. The doc, which was made for the occasion of Attenborough’s 90th birthday, was shot over seven years and follows him as he travels to Borneo, Morocco and the Galapagos to shoot wildlife specials. Geffen, the CEO of Atlantic Productions, commented, “This is such a special Attenborough film because unusually he is the subject. As I look back over the last seven years, I never fail to be amazed by his extraordinary ambition and drive to use the very latest technology to communicate the natural world to audiences around the globe. This film gives audiences the chance to see what it’s like to be on the road with David.”
2016 • Nature
David Attenborough takes a breathtaking journey through the vast and diverse continent of Africa as it has never been seen before. (Part 3: Congo) The very heart of Africa is covered in dense tropical rainforest. The animals that live here find the most ingenious ways to carve out their space in a claustrophobic landscape. Danger lurks in every shadow, but some animals thrive here, from honey-stealing chimps to birds with a lineage as old as the dinosaurs, thundering elephants and kick-boxing frogs. Here in the Congo, no matter how tough the competition, you must stand up and fight for yourself and your patch.
David Attenborough highlights the curiosities that have led to accusations of forgery, but have ultimately helped assist the rethinking of evolution. When early explorers brought the first specimen of a duck-billed platypus to England in 1799, it was considered so bizarre it was deemed a hoax. Similarly, the midwife toad became the centre of a scientific storm in the 1920s that led to accusations of fakery.
Liz Bonnin presents a controversial and provocative episode of Horizon, investigating how new scientific research is raising hard questions about zoos - the film explores how and why zoos keep animals, and whether they need to change to keep up with modern science, or ultimately be consigned to history. Should zoos cull their animals to manage populations? Liz travels to Copenhagen Zoo, who killed a giraffe and fed it to the lions, to witness their culling process first hand. They think it is a natural part of zoo keeping that is often swept under the carpet. Should some animals never be kept in captivity? In a world exclusive, Liz visits SeaWorld in Florida and asks if captivity drove one of their orcas to kill his trainer. But could zoos be the answer to conserving endangered species? Liz examines their record, from helping breed pandas for the wild to efforts to save the rhinos. She meets one of the last surviving northern white rhinos and discovers the future of this species now lies in a multimillion-dollar programme to engineer them for stem cells. Veteran conservation scientist Dr Sarah Bexell tells Liz the science of captive breeding is giving humanity false hope.
David Attenborough's entertaining romp through the world of monkeys has a serious side: for when we look at monkeys, we can see ourselves. From memory to morality, from 'crying wolf' to politics, monkeys are our basic blueprint. Pygmy marmosets 'farm' tree sap; bearded capuchins in Brazil develop a production line for extracting palm nuts; white-faced capuchins in Costa Rica tenderly nurse the victims of battle; and in the Ethiopian highlands, a deposed gelada baboon has got the blues. Cheating, lying and bare-faced murder are all there too. These revelations of simian science, combined with captivating photography, make this film about monkey business our business.
2008 • Nature
On a summer’s night, there’s nothing more magic than watching the soft glow of fireflies switching on and off. Few other life forms on land can light up the night, but in the dark depths of the oceans, it’s a different story: nearly 90% of all species shine from within. Whether it’s to scare off predators, fish for prey, or lure a mate, the language of light is everywhere in the ocean depths, and scientists are finally starting to decode it. NOVA and National Geographic take a dazzling dive to this hidden undersea world where most creatures flash, sparkle, shimmer, or simply glow. Join deep sea scientists who investigate these stunning displays and discover surprising ways to harness nature’s light—from tracking cancer cells to detecting pollution, lighting up cities, and even illuminating the inner workings of our brains.
A Film About Coffee is a love letter to, and meditation on, specialty coffee. It examines what it takes, and what it means, for coffee to be defined as “specialty.” The film whisks audiences on a trip around the world, from farms in Honduras and Rwanda to coffee shops in Tokyo, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and New York. Through the eyes and experiences of farmers and baristas, the film offers a unique overview of all the elements—the processes, preferences and preparations; traditions old and new—that come together to create the best cups. This is a film that bridges gaps both intellectual and geographical, evoking flavor and pleasure, and providing both as well.
2014 • Nature
Armed with the latest global scientific research, Chris Packham and Liz Bonnin battle it out to find the definitive answer to the burning question - which are best, cats or dogs? Part 2: Chris Packham and Liz Bonnin present the second of two programmes in which pooches and pussies are put through a number of tests to see which family pet comes out on top. There are five more rounds, concentrating on which animal is easiest to train, communication, which is best at helping reduce people's stress, independence and the big question - do cats and dogs really love their owners? On the search for answers, dog-lover Chris meets a Border Collie which can recognise more than 150 words and Liz meets a cat capable of choosing its own TV channels.
Armed with the latest global scientific research, Chris Packham and Liz Bonnin battle it out to find the definitive answer to the burning question - which are best, cats or dogs? Part 1: The animals go head to head in a series of rounds testing different aspects, beginning in this edition with intelligence, sensory powers and physical prowess. On the search for answers, dog-lover Chris comes face to face with a pack of wolves, while feline fan Liz confronts an Arabian wild cat to discover how the relationship humans and their pets have evolved.
The Caribbean has been shaped by millions of years of unstoppable volcanic forces and ferocious hurricanes, creating a network of 7,000 islands, each one more unique than the next. From islets only a few miles long to landmasses with towering peaks, the habitats of this tropical paradise range from lush rainforests hiding untold species to multi-coloured coral reefs teeming with marine life. The fauna of the Caribbean has had to adapt to an island existence, becoming either generalists or specialists…creatures as old as the dinosaurs nest on its beaches, opportunistic scavengers patrol its skies, iridescent dynamos forage in its forests and wandering ocean leviathans give birth in its warm waters.
2015 • Nature
Part 3: Survival When David Attenborough first visited the Great Barrier Reef in 1957, he considered it the most spectacular place in the natural world and he assumed that it would last forever. Since then the coral has been dying at an unprecedented rate. In this episode he undertakes his most important mission to understand what the next few decades hold for this remarkable community of animals, as well as what is being done to save it. On his journey, David uncovers the remarkable ways in which scientists are trying to preserve the reef and embarks on an ambitious exploration of his own, the deepest dive ever on the reef. But despite the discoveries now being made by scientists and in the reef's furthest reaches, David fears for the future of this incredibly complex and beautiful ecosystem so vital for the world's oceans.
Part 2: Visitors David discovers the creatures that visit the reef every year, from birds to whales, some travelling thousands of kilometres to get there. Using the latest technology, David dives into the shark-infested waters of Osprey Reef in the Triton submersible. Sixty years after his first visit to Raine Island, he returns to the nesting grounds of the green sea turtle and at Lady Elliot Island marvels at manta ray cleaning stations. New tracking technology allows David to follow the story of visitors like the dwarf minke whales. Stunning satellite imagery and computer animation reveal their journey and David discovers their surprising reasons for returning and why the reef is vital for their survival.
David Attenborough returns in this landmark series to his most magical place on earth exploring the Great Barrier Reef aboard the research vessel Alucia. Part 1: Builders David descends beneath the waves at night in the state-of-the-art Triton submersible, the first of its kind to visit the reef. He meets some of the tiny coral animals that built the reef and helped to turn it into an underwater wonderland. He then takes to the skies to witness the vast scale of their endeavour, a living structure that provides a home for thousands of species. Using cutting-edge technology to generate computer scans of the sea floor, David learns that the Great Barrier Reef we know today is much younger than scientists ever imagined. He meets some of the people that have lived alongside it and who have told stories of its origins for thousands of years.
Documentary series delving into a rarely seen South American wilderness, home to surprising creatures who survive in environments that range from the mighty Andes Mountains to Cape Horn. Part 3: Life on the Edge This is the story of an awe-inspiring coastline, 4000 miles long. From the cold, fearsome waters of Cape Horn, where brave rockhopper penguins overcome huge challenges to raise their young, to the far north, with huge elephant seals battling for position in the heat of the desert. Orcas ram-raid the beaches, grabbing seal pups to feed their young. People too gather the sea's bounty, but these shores are not for the faint-hearted.
Documentary series delving into a rarely seen South American wilderness, home to surprising creatures who survive in environments that range from the mighty Andes Mountains to Cape Horn. From the Andes peaks, we follow the path of the relentless wind, sweeping east through Patagonia's dry desert. We discover a weird world of maras - giant guinea pigs - and desert-dwelling penguins, and witness the first faltering steps of baby guanacos - Patagonia's very own camels. People live here too - brave souls who have taken on this arid world and carved out a home.
Documentary series delving into a rarely seen South American wilderness, home to surprising creatures who survive in environments that range from the mighty Andes Mountains to Cape Horn. Part 1: Fire and Ice Discover the secret lives of pumas and hummingbirds. Soar with condors over glacial peaks and explore monkey puzzle forests from the time of dinosaurs. Ride with extreme kayakers over raging waterfalls, and with Patagonia's cowboys - the gauchos - as they round up wild horses.
The Miller-Urey experiment was the first attempt to scientifically explore ideas about the origin of life. Stanley Miller simulated conditions thought be common on the ancient Earth. The purpose was to test the idea that the complex molecules of life (in this case, amino acids) could have arisen on our young planet through simple, natural chemical reactions.
How can you tell the two poles apart? Where are the penguins? What about the bears? The Arctic pole is located in the Northern Hemisphere within the deep Arctic Ocean, while the Antarctic pole is smack in the middle of the ice-covered Antarctica. Camille Seaman describes how enterprising people and organisms have found ways to reside around both poles despite the frigid temperatures.
What is it that makes things alive? What if we made robots that could sustain themselves? What if they could mine metals or recycle old robots, reprogram and remake themselves? There's nothing there we would traditional call alive, but they would have at least have the essence of this perpetual rube Goldberg machine.
We’ve heard that bees are disappearing. But what is making bee colonies so vulnerable? Photographer Anand Varma raised bees in his backyard — in front of a camera — to get an up close view. This project, for National Geographic, gives a lyrical glimpse into a bee hive — and reveals one of the biggest threats to its health, a mite that preys on baby bees in the first 21 days of life.
In this final episode we complete our journey, travelling back from the March equinox to the end of June. Kate Humble is in the Arctic at a place where spring arrives with a bang, whilst Helen Czerski chases a tornado to show how the earth's angle of tilt creates the most extreme weather on earth.
In this second episode we travel from January to the March equinox. Kate Humble gets closer to the Sun than she has ever been before, whilst Helen Czerski visits a place that gets some of the biggest and fastest snowstorms on Earth.
In this first episode they travel from July to the December solstice, experiencing spectacular weather and the largest tides on Earth. To show how the Earth's orbit affects our lives, Helen jumps out of an aeroplane and Kate briefly becomes the fastest driver on Earth.
Dolphins are one of the smartest animal species on Earth. In fact, their encephalization quotient (their brain size compared to the average for their body size) is second only to humans. But exactly how smart are they? Lori Marino details some incredible facts about dolphins.
In the balmy tropical Atlantic, everything from dolphins, manatees and whale sharks to sunbathing jellyfish thrive in the Caribbean's warm, sheltered waters, fringed with coral reefs and rich mangrove forests. But extreme heat in Africa unleashes terrifying hurricanes, causing chaos across the region.
In the vast South Atlantic, huge pods of dolphins, massive penguin colonies and the largest gathering of marine mammals on earth pack chains of extraordinary islands, created by powerful volcanic forces far below them. Nutrient-rich upwellings create profusions of life in some areas, whilst extreme isolation and abyssal depths host a world of bizarre creatures in others.
In the wild North Atlantic, massive whale pods, giant turtles and monstrous jellyfish ride the Gulf Stream, a huge ocean current that becomes a migration superhighway and helps warm northern Europe. Meanwhile, fishermen battle for survival in mountainous seas as they try to reap the current's natural fertility.
Across our planet, there are a handful of places that truly astonish, like Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon and Victoria Falls. These wonders seem to have little in common other than - literally - taking your breath away. But they share one other thing: they pose extraordinary challenges for their inhabitants. The second of two documentaries profiling some of the world's most expansive - and inhospitable - landscapes, and the people who live there. A fisherman in Zambia faces off against crocodiles and risks being swept to his death as he tries to make a living above the imposing Victoria Falls, and in the Amazon, a giant fish offers salvation to a hungry family that calls the river home. A boy's future hangs on the outcome of a single horse race in the vast grasslands of the Steppe, and in a European salt marsh, a young man duels with a savage bull in a centuries-old battle of wills.
Across our planet, there are a handful of places that truly astonish, like Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon and Victoria Falls. These wonders seem to have little in common other than - literally - taking your breath away. But they share one other thing: they pose extraordinary challenges for their inhabitants. The first of two programmes in which cameras explore some of the most inhospitable places on the planet and the people who live there, including a team of Sherpa roping a route on Mount Everest's notorious Khumbu Icefall and, on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, farmers fight pitched battles to save their crops from marauding elephants. In the Amazon rainforest, two boys undergo a rite of passage involving hundreds of ants with the most painful stings on Earth, and conservationists in the Grand Canyon try to ensure the survival of one of America's few surviving condor chicks.
This film explores why it pays to work as a team as it reveals some of the most captivating and awe-inspiring group parenting stories from the animal world. For most group-living species, living together means dividing the labour. From elephants taking part in hostage negotiations for their babies to banded mongoose all giving birth on the same day, female lions forming a sisterhood to see off interloping males and musk oxen rallying together to defend their calves from hungry wolves... it's truly amazing what some animal parents are prepared to do for the next generation!
It may take two to make a baby - but not necessarily two to bring it up. So what makes a parent decide to stay or go? Especially if that parent is a dad. From the California mouse mother who has to kickstart her partner's paternal instincts, to Adelie penguin parents who can't leave their eggs alone for five minutes; from cheetah mums practicing promiscuity to keep the dads on side, to flamingo parents both producing milk for their young. We see just how far these incredible parents go in order to protect and nurture as many offspring as possible through to adulthood.
We reveal the weird and wonderful stories of some of the natural world's incredible single parents: their devotion, dedication and often jaw-dropping endeavour in order to see their babies through to adulthood. From the slow loris covering her baby in toxic saliva to the Weddell seal putting her pup through winter boot camp, a weedy sea dragon cleverly camouflaging his eggs against his body and the female giant Pacific octopus sacrificing herself for her brood - we see how these parents are prepared to go the extra mile to arm the next generation with what they need to survive.
Sharks are among the most misunderstood predators on the planet, but an international team of scientists is trying to change that. Their research is revealing that sharks can be sociable and intelligent, and they could even help solve some of the toughest medical challenges of the 21st century. However, their breakthroughs come just as many sharks face extinction. Science may now be the only way to save them.
Sharks are more than just hunters. Only now are discoveries revealing a hidden side to their character. They have an intricate social life, complex courtship rituals, surprising ways of bringing up their young and extraordinary powers of navigation. They can forge relationships with the strangest of partners, even humans.
The first programme shows how sharks are the ocean's great predators, living in every ocean and hunting in every way. Blacktip sharks hunt in huge packs and herd fish into baitballs, tasselled wobbegongs are ambush hunters, Greenland sharks live under the arctic ice, and whitetip reef sharks are the masters of hunting at night. The finale shows the great white in its hunt for fur seals off the coast of South Africa.
Some animals appear to have taken Nature’s gifts and stretched them to extreme limits. With these two natural curiosities one creature, the giraffe, has ended up with a super-stretched neck, the other, the chameleon, a super stretchy tongue. In both cases nature has found a way to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Biologists teach that all living things on Earth are related. Is there any solid evidence to back this claim? Join us as we explore the facts! We start with a close look at the origin of whales from land mammals, and then touch on the origins of several other critters, including our own species.
Issues of genetics and DNA are constantly cropping up in the news from food production and health, to legal cases and ethics. We hear about DNA in movies like Jurassic Park and X-men, we learn bits and pieces about it from TV shows like Dexter and and CSI, but what exactly is DNA, and how does it work?
Humans, octopi and pine trees alike are all made up of cells, tiny but sophisticated systems that keep life going. Cells are almost like tiny factories run by robots, with the nucleus, DNA, proteins, lipids, and vitamins and minerals all playing critical roles. George Zaidan and Charles Morton lay out the blueprint of a cell and explain how biochemistry binds all life together.
David discovers the plants that have evolved to shed their dependency on water enabling them to survive in the driest environments. The story begins at midnight in midsummer as David steps into the Princess of Wales Conservatory to witness the extraordinary nocturnal blooming of a cactus. The Queen of the Night, with its giant flowers, is the centre piece of a stunning symphony of cacti blooms that burst open in the desert (and at Kew) at night. In a mesmerizing 3D slow motion sequence, we discover the extraordinary connections between cacti and their natural ...
David begins his journey inside the magnificent Palm House, a unique global rainforest in London. Here, he explores the extraordinary plants that are so well adapted to wet and humid environments and unravels the intimate relationships between wet zone plants and the animals that depend on them. It was in the wet zones of the world that plants first moved on to land and in the Waterlily House David reveals how flowers first evolved some 140 million years ago. Watching a kaleidoscope of breath-taking time-lapses of these most primitive of flowers swelling and blooming ...
The human eye is an amazing mechanism, able to detect anywhere from a few photons to a few quadrillion, or switch focus from the screen in front of you to the distant horizon in a third of a second. How did these complex structures evolve? Joshua Harvey details the 500 million year story of the human eye.
In the final episode of this groundbreaking scientific study, Liz Bonnin and a team of scientists reveal the secret language of our cats, the surprising conversations they have when we are asleep, and why they meow to us but not each other. We rig a house with cameras and cat trackers to discover if four cats living under one roof all get on as well as we would like to think. And we find out why living alongside us is making life difficult for our 21st-century cats.
The second episode of this unique scientific study reveals the wild side of pet cats. Using GPS trackers and cat cameras, they show how these felines transform from pampered pet to purring predator as soon as they leave the cat flap. Liz Bonnin and some of the world's top cat experts put Ozzy and Smudge under surveillance to find out who is king of the street and reveal why, no matter how hard we try, we can't keep our cats' hunting instincts under control.
Playful pets, fearsome fighters or deadly hunters? Millions of us have cats in our homes, yet we know very little about them. In this series, Liz Bonnin joins forces with some of the world's top cat experts to conduct a groundbreaking scientific study. With GPS trackers and cat cameras, we follow 100 cats in three very different environments to find out what they get up to when they leave the cat flap. In the first programme we discover how our cats see, hear and smell the world with the senses of their wild ancestors, and why this could be making life difficult for them in the modern world.
In this highlights programme compiled from the recent Life Story series, David Attenborough brings us the universal story that unites each of us with every animal on the planet, the story of the greatest of all adventures - the journey through life. For each stage of life we see the most spectacular, beautiful or dramatic stories from the Life Story series.
The hunt for life within the long-dead bones of dinosaurs may sound like the stuff of Hollywood fantasy - but one woman has found traces of life within the fossilised bones of a T rex. Dr Mary Schweitzer has seen the remains of red blood cells and touched the soft tissue of an animal that died 68 million years ago. Most excitingly of all, she believes she may just have found signs of DNA. Her work is revolutionising our understanding of these iconic beasts.
Our planet was once populated by megafauna, big top-of-the-food-chain predators that played their part in balancing our ecosystems. When those megafauna disappear, the result is a "trophic cascade," where every part of the ecosystem reacts to the loss. How can we stay in balance? George Monbiot suggests rewilding: putting wolves, lions and other predators back on top -- with surprising results.
When you picture the lowest levels of the food chain, you might imagine herbivores happily munching on lush, living green plants. But this idyllic image leaves out a huge (and slightly less appetizing) source of nourishment: dead stuff. John C. Moore details the "brown food chain," explaining how such unlikely delicacies as pond scum and animal poop contribute enormous amounts of energy to our ecosystems.
Horizon discovers what your cat really gets up to when it leaves the cat flap. In a groundbreaking experiment, 50 cats from a village in Surrey are tagged with GPS collars and their every movement is recorded, day and night, as they hunt in our backyards and patrol the garden fences and hedgerows. Cats are fitted with specially developed cat-cams which reveal their unique view of our world. You may think you understand your pet, but their secret life is more surprising than we thought.
Adam Rutherford meets a new creature created by American scientists - the spider-goat. It is part goat, part spider, and its milk can be used to create artificial spider's web. It is part of a new field of research, synthetic biology, with a radical aim: to break down nature into spare parts so that we can rebuild it however we please.
Space. It separates you from me, one galaxy from the next, and atoms from one another. It is everywhere in the universe. But to most of us, space is nothing, an empty void. Well, it turns out space is not what it seems. From the passenger seat of a New York cab driving near the speed of light, to a pool hall where billiard tables do fantastical things, Brian Greene reveals space as a dynamic fabric that can stretch, twist, warp, and ripple under the influence of gravity.
David Attenborough visits archaeological sites where fossils were found illustrating the origins of life on earth, in the ocean. For long, evolution worked very slow and species remained primitive, mostly single-cell, alter fractal. Only the invention of sexual reproduction kick-started genetic diversification.
The theory of evolution explains how the enormous variety of life could come into existence. How it is possible for primitive life forms to spawn the millions of different creatures, that exist today. Unfortunately, evolution is often misunderstood, because it's mechanisms seem counter intuitive. By using visualizations, infographics and appealing characters, the viewer is more likely to understand it the complex information.
In which John Green and Hank Green teach you about how human primates moved out of Africa and turned Earth into a real-life Planet of the Apes. And the apes are people! John and Hank teach you about how humans evolved, and the sort of tricks they picked up along the way like complex tool use, big brains, and fighting. Learn more: http://www.bighistoryproject.com
Following 161 84 views About Export Add to From the Great Pyramid at Giza to the towering skyscrapers of today, humans have engineered massive constructions for at least 5,000 years. But why? How do biology and human emotions affect our desire to build gigantic structures?
Traveling is extremely arduous for microscopic sperm -- think of a human trying to swim in a pool made of...other humans.