Investigating extraordinary feats and strange powers of animals. A look at animals that possess senses more powerful than humans: sharks, dolphins, hippos, parrots, killer bees, rhinos, pelicans and elephants.
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.
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.
From the stealthy tarantula to the prehistoric Komodo dragon to the deceptive mosquito--one of the more prolific modern predators--killers come in all shapes and sizes. Join us as we examine the deadly adaptations of these cold-blooded culprits.
Zebra stripes vary subtly between the different species but there is one group of animals that has evolved colourful patterns of seemingly infinite variety, the butterflies. In this episode David looks at two examples of animal patterns that have bedazzled and baffled science for a long time, and uses modern tools to unlock their secrets.