The Danube is the largest preserved wetland on the continent, a sanctuary for thousands of species -many are the last of their kind. Conservationists are working to preserve and restore these precious habitats before it’s too late.
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.
Two hundred million years ago there was an extraordinary development in the history of life: an ancient group of reptiles made a giant evolutionary leap into the skies. In this groundbreaking, BAFTA winning, documentary, David Attenborough travels back in time to discover how and why these creatures took flight, and why after 150 million years of aerial domination they vanished. Using state of the art CGI, and based on new finds and the latest research, Flying Monsters recreates these spectacular creatures and takes us into their world. Beginning on Dorset’s 'Jurassic Coast', David’s journey takes him to sites around the world, from Southern France to New Mexico. With the help of a team of scientists he unravels one of palaeontologys enduring mysteries, how did lizards the size of giraffes defy gravity and soar through prehistoric skies? Driven by the information he finds as he attempts to answer these questions, Attenborough finds that the marvel of pterosaur flight has evolutionary echoes that resonate even today.
2011 • 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.
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.
[3 parts] Steve Backshall explores the world of insects and their close relatives, the arachnids and crustaceans, in order to find out more about their habits and secrets. Ch1. Them and Us Steve Backshall explores the connections and relationships humans have with insects and their close relatives, the arachnids and crustaceans. He begins by revealing how huge armies of driver ants give houses a five-star clean-up in Kenya, while in China, silkworm caterpillars are credited with shaping culture and distribution. He also explains that, despite people's perceptions of these creepy-crawlies, mankind could not live without them. Ch2. Making Worlds Steve Backshall explores the influence that insects and their close relatives, the arachnids and crustaceans, have on the planet's many ecosystems. He reveals how the landscape of South America's grasslands has been created almost solely by one team of bugs - grass-cutter ants - while in east Africa, the savannah would quickly become swamped in dung were it not for the activities of a particular beetle. He also contemplates the idea that without one tiny creature, the blue whale could not exist. Ch3. The Secrets to Their Success Steve Backshall explores why an estimated 10 million species of insects are so abundant, and examines the secrets of their success. In Yellowstone National Park, he reveals how teamwork enables a colony of bees to scare off a hungry bear, and he travels to the Swiss Alps to highlight the relationship between ants, wasps and butterflies.
2013 • Nature
David Attenborough takes a breathtaking journey through the vast and diverse continent of Africa as it has never been seen before. (Part 5: Sahara) Northern Africa is home to the greatest desert on Earth, the Sahara. On the fringes, huge zebras battle over dwindling resources and naked mole rats avoid the heat by living a bizarre underground existence. Within the desert, where the sand dunes 'sing', camels seek out water with the help of their herders and tiny swallows navigate across thousands of square miles to find a solitary oasis. This is a story of an apocalypse and how, when nature is overrun, some are forced to flee, some endure, but a few seize the opportunity to establish a new order.