A fascinating look at the secret, underground world of the ant colony in a way that has never been seen before. At its heart is a massive, full-scale ant nest, specially-designed and built to allow cameras to see its inner workings. The nest is a new home for a million-strong colony of leafcutter ants from Trinidad. For a month, entomologist Dr George McGavin and leafcutter expert Professor Adam Hart capture every aspect of the life of the colony, using time-lapse cameras, microscopes, microphones and radio tracking technology. The ants instantly begin to forage, farm, mine and build. Within weeks, the colony has established everything from nurseries to gardens to graveyards. The programme explores how these tiny insects can achieve such spectacular feats of collective organisation. This unique project reveals the workings of one of the most complex and mysterious societies in the natural world and shows the surprising ways in which ants are helping us solve global problems.
In this episode Brian uncovers how the stunning diversity of shapes in the natural world are shadows of the rules that govern the universe. In Spain he shows how an attempt by hundreds of people to build the highest human tower reveals the force that shapes our planet. In Nepal, honey hunters seek out giant beehives that cling to cliff walls. The perfect hexagonal honeycombs made by the bees to store their honey conceal a mathematical rule. Off the coast of Canada, Brian explains how some of the most irregular, dangerous shapes in nature - massive icebergs that surge down from Greenland and into shipping lanes of the Atlantic - emerge from a powerful yet infinitely small force of nature. Even the most delicate six-sided snowflake tells a story of the forces of nature that forged it.
Beneath Indonesia's coral reef, tiny creatures have made the murky seabed their home. Here, you'll find shrimps that kill with a whip-fast punch, toxic nudibranch sea slugs, and six of the nine species of the world's walking sharks. Dive into the depths of this unlikely ocean ecosystem.