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.
The journey begins on the Galapagos' west side at the youngest and most volcanically active islands in the archipelago, Isabela and Fernandina, which are home to a richly diverse wildlife scene. Here, Liz and the team journey into the clouds above Wolf, the tallest volcano in the Galapagos, where they join a group of biologists hunting for the elusive pink iguana, which teeters on the edge of extinction. But how and why did it come to live on the top of a volcano? Back on the research vessel, Liz boards Alucia's Triton submersible to descend a kilometre into the ocean abyss in search of a new species hiding in the darkness. Liz also travels to one of the most remote locations in the Galapagos, Alcedo Volcano, in search of the largest population of giant tortoises. Plagued by drought in recent months, scientists are keen to find out how this prehistoric species has fared. Finally, Liz helps out with a groundbreaking science experiment to x-ray marine iguanas that have so far stunned the scientific community with a new mutation. As with all life on these remote islands, the key to survival is adaptation.
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.
How do animals experience the world around them? How does what they see impact their place in nature and how has their place in nature impacted what they see? We asked Professor Thomas Cronin to show us how the most interesting and prolific eyes in the animal kingdom work and how they came to be.
2018 • Nature