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
Members of the weasel family are often portrayed as the villains of the natural world, but do they deserve this reputation? By following the adventures of a tiny orphaned weasel named Twiz, this film reveals the true nature of these pocket-sized predators, which relative to their size have a bite more powerful than a tiger’s. In Yorkshire, a unique garden rigged with over 50 cameras gives a rare insight into the dramatic life of a mother stoat as she tries to raise her first family. And new science uncovers the problem-solving abilities of the honey badger, the secrets behind the ferret’s legendary flexibility, and the remarkable sense of smell of the wolverine. Together, using their extraordinary skills, this feisty and fearless family have conquered the planet.
From the mighty grizzly bear to the endearing real life Paddington, the spectacled bear, and Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book's Baloo, the sloth bear, this remarkable animal family has long captured our imagination. As some of the largest animals on earth, they need more than just the 'bare necessities' to survive - especially in today’s ever-changing world. This film explores how bears across the world have overcome the challenges of life - from finding food and raising the cubs to confronting rivals and habitat loss - all thanks to brains, brawn and a remarkable ability to adapt.
In southern Israel, two vastly different worlds live side-by-side. A tropical sea and ancient coral reef teem with aquatic life alongside a harsh desert landscape filled with hardy reptiles and alien acacia trees. Venture into a part of Israel that few people imagine exists.
In the thick of the jungle of Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park, an infant mountain gorilla has been caught in a snare. If the rope is not removed quickly enough, the young gorilla could lose its hand. In order to remove the snare, a team of veterinarians will first need to sedate the infant's mother. But if the infant screams too much, the three 400-pound adult males that form part of this gorilla group will all attack. Everything must go perfectly, or there's no telling what could happen. And being jungle medicine, things rarely go perfectly. The pioneering group of vets performing this medical intervention is known as Gorilla Doctors. Led by Canadian Mike Cranfield, they work in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, where the world's last Mountain Gorillas can be found.
When you picture the lowest levels of the food chain, you might imagine herbivores happily munching on lush, living green plants. But this idyllic image leaves out a huge (and slightly less appetizing) source of nourishment: dead stuff. John C. Moore details the "brown food chain," explaining how such unlikely delicacies as pond scum and animal poop contribute enormous amounts of energy to our ecosystems.