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.
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
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.
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.
From penguins whose salt-removing eye glands shield them from the harsh ocean to caterpillars whose fake facial markings are meant to mimic a snake's, animals have evolved in amazing ways to see and be seen. Meet these creatures and see how they use eyes and illusions to their advantage.