By telling the story of our organs, this documentary makes us aware of an evolutionary timeline. Our nose is 40 million years old, our coccyx 25 million, our fingers 370 million, while our chin is only 200,000 years old!
Our body is a true time machine. It is a mirror of the history of the living world. If an engineer today had to fabricate the ideal human, he would most likely not design us the way we are currently made. He would go to the most logical, the most efficient, the most rational; and when you look closely, this is not always what characterizes us.
2018 • Nature
Africa's coasts were formed by the break-up of Gondwanaland 100 million years ago. They define the familiar shape of this special continent, and touch on a variety of environments including deserts, mountains, forests, wetlands and savannahs. Wild Africa takes us back in time to witness the birth of Africa and also carries us on a spectacular journey around the edge of the continent.
After the Permian period, the epic saga of evolution and extinction on Earth produced the world's first dinosaurs, plesiosaurs and pterosaurs. They dominated land, sea and air until another period of extreme volcanism generated vast waves of lava and toxic gas and killed roughly 75% of all species.
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.
It’s sexy time with the arthropods! This week David Attenborough takes a look at the courtship rituals of the creatures beneath our feet. But lovebugs won’t want to take tips from these bugs. The male Chilean rose tarantula, for instance, weaves a silk mat; deposits sperm on it, then sucks that sperm into a finger-like appendage near his mouth before he looks for a mate. Then there’s the gruesome, but surprisingly effective, coupling of praying mantis. The cinematography is as amazing as ever, catching the mating battles of tramp ants and providing luminescent footage of the courtship dance of Tanzanian red claw scorpions.
Sri Lanka, the tropical island lying off the southern coast of India, is home to its own special elephants. A subspecies of the Asian elephant, they have their own unique characteristics. In this programme, award-winning wildlife cameraman Martyn Colbeck of Echo of the Elephants fame travels to Sri Lanka to try and get to know them. Martyn has planned his arrival to coincide with the start of the monsoon, hoping it will be the best time to find and follow a newborn calf. By drawing on local knowledge, Martyn begins to unravel the complex social world of Sri Lanka's elephants - he witnesses a fight over a calf, a battle between two bulls in musk and, at an elephant sanctuary, befriends an orphaned elephant who sadly lost a leg to a snare and is facing an uncertain future.