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
Who are you going to call when beavers are behaving badly? Well, if you live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Drew Reed is the go-to 'beaver buster'. Drew works as a wetland conservationist, helping to keep the peace between beavers and people. These busy rodents are incredibly industrious - felling trees and building dams are two of their favourite occupations. This can be good news in the wild, helping create rich habitats for a variety of wildlife, but in back yards it can spell disaster. A beaver is more than capable of bringing down a tree large enough to damage property, and their dam building can result in flooded homes. Drew must do what he can to steer beavers away from trouble and stop their so-called bad behaviour.
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?
The annual Serengeti wildebeest migration is a journey so fraught with peril, it's a wonder they set off at all. For wildlife expert Jean du Plessis, it's a unique chance to see how a new generation of calves, born just months ago, will fare among the predatorial lions and crocodiles that await them.
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