The first episode tells how invertebrates became the first creatures of any kind to colonise dry land. Their forerunners were shelled and segmented sea creatures that existed 400 million years ago. Some of them ventured out of the water to lay their eggs in safety, and Attenborough compares those first steps with today's mass spawning of horseshoe crabs off the Atlantic coast of North America.
2005 • Nature
The next programme deals with flying insects. It begins in Central Europe, where the Körös River plays host to millions of giant mayflies as they rise from their larval skins to mate. — the climax of their lives. Mayflies and dragonflies were among the first to take to the air about 320 million years ago, and fossils reveal that some were similar in size to a seagull. Damselflies are also looked at in detail.
2005 • Nature
The final programme looks at the superorganisms formed by bees, ants and termites. Attenborough reveals that their colonies, whose individuals were once considered purely servile, are "full of conflict, power struggles and mutinies." They evolved when such creatures moved away from a solitary existence and started building nests side-by-side, which led to a collective approach to caring for their young.
2005 • Nature
The theory of evolution explains how the enormous variety of life could come into existence. How it is possible for primitive life forms to spawn the millions of different creatures, that exist today. Unfortunately, evolution is often misunderstood, because it's mechanisms seem counter intuitive. By using visualizations, infographics and appealing characters, the viewer is more likely to understand it the complex information.
From powerful sharks to mysterious fish shoals, the underwater dynamic between predator and prey is a never-ending one. Join these amazing creatures as they employ both offensive and defensive evolutionary adaptations, such as sharp senses and swarm intelligence, in their bid for survival.
This is the story of two young animals forced to grow up fast. In Africa's savannah, a baby elephant shrew learns how speed is the secret to survival amongst the largest animals on Earth; and in America, a young grasshopper mouse confronts the Wild West's deadliest creatures to stake a claim of his own.
Professor Richard Fortey delves into the fascinating and normally-hidden kingdom of fungi. From their spectacular birth, through their secretive underground life to their final explosive death, Richard reveals a remarkable world that few of us understand or even realise exists - yet all life on Earth depends on it. In a specially-built mushroom lab, with the help of mycologist Dr Patrick Hickey and some state-of-the-art technology, Richard brings to life the secret world of mushrooms as never seen before and reveals the spectacular abilities of fungi to break down waste and sustain new plant life, keeping our planet alive. Beyond the lab, Richard travels across Britain and beyond to show us the biggest, fastest and most deadly organisms on the planet - all of them fungi. He reveals their almost magical powers that have world-changing potential - opening up new frontiers in science, medicine and technology.
2014 • Nature