In the final programme of this week-long ocean health check, we find out what the future holds for the next generation of marine life and how we can help.
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Some animals have an extraordinary ability to find their way. The dung beetle, an insect revered by ancient Egyptians, uses the sun, the moon and even the Milky Way to move its prized ball of dung in the right direction. Pigeons are often considered feeble birdbrains, but they have incredible memories that can recall several complex travel routes with amazing accuracy and they even use man-made roads and hedgerows to find the quickest way home.
Fish dominate the planet's waters through their astonishing variety of shape and behaviour. The beautiful weedy sea dragon looks like a creature from a fairytale, and the male protects their eggs by carrying them on his tail for months. The sarcastic fringehead, meanwhile, appears to turn its head inside out when it fights. Slow-motion cameras show the flying fish gliding through the air like a flock of birds and capture the world's fastest swimmer, the sailfish, plucking sardines from a shoal at 70 mph. And the tiny Hawaiian goby undertakes one of nature's most daunting journeys, climbing a massive waterfall to find safe pools for breeding.
The story of how more than 220 dinosaur bones were found in the Argentinean desert, which were found to have come from a previously undiscovered species, which is the largest land dwelling animal known to have existed. David Attenborough visits the archaeological dig and a laboratory where the remains are being cleaned and analysed with lead scientist Dr Diego Pol and evolutionary biologist Ben Garrod, and meets animators, model-makers, paleontologists and anatomy experts who are working to reconstruct what the 37 metre-long creature would have looked like.
2016 • Nature
Unlike the many freshwater lagoons in South Africa, the Langebaan consists of 18.5 square miles of saltwater from the Atlantic Ocean. Of all the creatures that rely on it, two are pivotal for its own rejuvenation and sustenance: the regal flamingos and the nutrient-producing prawns.
Florida is famous for its beaches, blue water and year round sun – but it also has a surprising wild side. It's home to pine forests, coral reefs and the famous Everglades wetland, the largest sub-tropical wilderness in the US. Here, manatees swim in crystal clear rivers, baby alligators practice their hunting skills and miniature deer roam free. Every year, this state faces the full forces of nature - from wildfires to flooding and powerful hurricanes. And today, a growing human population and a cast of animal invaders are threatening this wild paradise. With the help of pioneering scientists, will Florida’s wildlife continue to weather the storm?
The Mediterranean. Because people have been traveling there for thousands of years, it is believed to be without secrets. And yet, far below its surface, lie vast unexplored territories, luxurious gardens worthy of the finest tropical coral reefs. These natural wonders are inaccessible to the traditional diver, in a twilight zone, between 60 and 120 m, where there’s less than 1% of sunlight. If diving at such depths is always a challenge, staying there is a fantasy, a utopia that becomes reality in Planet Mediterranean. In the tradition of Commander Cousteau and his houses under the sea, the team of diver-photographer Laurent Ballesta is undertaking a new world-record-setting mission in complete freedom and without time limit.
2020 • Nature