Shocking Senses • episode "S2E6" Natural Curiosities

Category: Nature

Plants and animals have some curious super senses that enable them to see, hear and feel things that are quite invisible to us.

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Natural Curiosities • 2013 - 2018 • 21 episodes •

Stretched to the Limit

Some animals appear to have taken Nature’s gifts and stretched them to extreme limits. With these two natural curiosities one creature, the giraffe, has ended up with a super-stretched neck, the other, the chameleon, a super stretchy tongue. In both cases nature has found a way to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Nature

Young Wrinklies

David encounters two examples where Nature has tinkered with the aging process to alarmingly different effect – the first grows old while trapped in a young body while the second looks old from birth but might hold the key to a long life.

Nature

A Curious Twist

The single spiral tusk of the narwhal inspiration for tales of unicorns and the myriad variations on the twist of the snail shell have delighted and fascinated naturalists and artists since the dawn of civilization.

Nature

Seeing the Pattern

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.

Nature

Virgin Births

Sir David Attenborough uses this episode to investigate two animals who are capable of true virgin birth - the production of offspring without the need for sex.

Nature

Armoured Animals

This episode explores the story of two animals that hide behind seemingly impregnable coat of arms. Can Sir David Attenborough get in behind their armour and reveal their mysteries?

Nature

Curious Imposters

Here we discover that some animals are able to trick others into believing they are something that they are not. The art of deception is a powerful attribute for some.

Nature

Bad Reputations

After initially gaining frightening reputations, it's now known that gorillas and bats are a lot gentler and considerate than their early reputations suggest.

Nature

Shocking Senses

Plants and animals have some curious super senses that enable them to see, hear and feel things that are quite invisible to us.

Nature

Life on Ice

In this episode we explore the remarkable adaptations of two creatures that have evolved to survive the most challenging of conditions and seem to defy the laws of nature.

Nature

Spinners and Weavers

We'll find out how nature is incredibly inventive and has produced two unique mechanisms of natural construction that have fascinated scientists for centuries; weaving in birds and silk.

Nature

Strange Parents

"Strange Parents" asks how we usually recognise animals as either male or female and how each sex normally plays a particular role in their own life cycle. However both hyenas and seahorses completely break the gender rules.

Nature

A Curious Hoax?

David Attenborough highlights the curiosities that have led to accusations of forgery, but have ultimately helped assist the rethinking of evolution. When early explorers brought the first specimen of a duck-billed platypus to England in 1799, it was considered so bizarre it was deemed a hoax. Similarly, the midwife toad became the centre of a scientific storm in the 1920s that led to accusations of fakery.

2013 • Nature

Life in the Dark

David Attenborough looks at the eyes of squid and owls and how they've managed to maximise their vision.

2014 • Nature

Magical Appearances

"Magical Appearances" explores how swallows magically appear each spring and asks how did complex and beautiful insects like butterflies suddenly arrive in the summer.The discovery of the swallow’s epic migration and the revelation that butterflies could metamorphose into totally different looking adults were scientific stories both cloaked in mystery and controversy.

2014 • Nature

Animal Frankensteins

Hybrids can be bizarre and they can be deadly. We look at two hybrid animals that owe their existence to human interference - the pizzly bear (a cross between a polar bear and grizzly), which has come into being because of global warming, and the killer bee, brought into existence because of the transfer of African bees to South America.

2018 • Nature

Finding the Way

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.

2018 • Nature

Extreme Babies

The giant panda gives birth to the smallest baby of any mammal and has to care for and protect it for many months. Why don't they give birth to more developed, robust young? The kiwi lays one of the largest eggs in the bird world, which produces a very well-developed chick. Why do kiwis produce a single egg that is a quarter of its body mass and almost too big to lay?

2018 • Nature

Curious Counters

Can animals count? This is a question that has intrigued and fooled investigators for a long time. Just over 100 years ago, a German horse called Hans was declared a mathematical genius but all was not as it seemed. And strangely, some bamboos around the world flower exactly at the same no matter where they are. Are they counting down the years?

2018 • Nature

Incredible Shells

David Attenborough investigates two shells that have proved to be winners in evolution: the tortoise's shell and the shells of birds' eggs. The ostrich egg is so strong it is possible for a person to stand on it without it breaking, but how does the chick break out of this fortress? The evolution of the tortoise shell was for a long time a mystery and this bony box offers a lot more than just protection.

2018 • Nature

Ferocious Fighters

The Siamese fighting fish is so aggressive it will fight its own reflection until it is exhausted. Recent research shows that the fighting behaviour varies and depends on the personality of the fish! Male kangaroos were once pitted against humans in the boxing ring, with the most impressive male kangaroos being solid blocks of muscle with a kick that can kill. Why do they fight and what skills must a winner have?

2018 • Nature

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Destiny

Follows the interconnected stories of a cast of savannah animals over one year, in a bold new dramatised natural history format for BBC One. Narrated by award-winning British actor John , the series captures the high drama of the area's distinctive wildlife up close. There's love and loss, jealousy and rivalry, tragedy and triumph, as their lives entwine and dramatically unfold in the heart of this legendary land. It's the time of plenty in the Serengeti, with food in abundance, but a series of unexpected events turns families against each other and stretches relationships to breaking point. Kali a brave lioness and devoted mother of four cubs, has broken the golden rules of family life, by having cubs with an outsider. When she tries to bring the cubs home, her betrayal is exposed and she is forced into exile. Bakari, a passionate male baboon, starts a deep and jealous rivalry after the female he was devoted to is stolen away by the new, more aggressive, leader of the troop. Zalika, a young hyena, loses her mother in a terrifying attack by some rogue male lions and has to assume the leadership of her family. Somehow, she must prove herself ready for such a huge responsibility. Tembo, a teenage elephant, questions his place in the family when his mother Nalla, the matriarch of the family, gives birth to a new baby and he is sidelined. Bakari attempts to win back his lost love until tragedy strikes and Kali finds salvation from an unexpected place. Emotions run high as each of the characters struggles to cope with their worlds being turned upside down.

S1E1Serengeti • 2019 • Nature

Superhuman senses

This episode is all about "superhuman" senses - animal sensory systems that can detect magnetic fields (magneto- reception), electric fields (electroreception), and infrared radiation.

S1E5Animal Super Senses • 2020 • Nature

Fighting

How many animals - including zebras, moose and stalk-eyes flies - assess their opponents' fighting prowess before making an attack that risks injury or death.

8/12Trials of Life • 1990 • Nature

Making Waves [Making of]

Revealing the titanic efforts behind Blue Planet, this diary reveals the skills and dedication of the film makers.

Blue Planet I • 2001 • Nature

Wild Antarctica

Antarctica is the most remote and pristine wilderness on the planet. , It is a timeless and harsh land like no other. Night here can last three months and in the peak of summer the sun never sets. To understand how life can exist in this continent of snow and icebergs you must spend a year there. You discover that despite being the least habitable place on Earth, life abounds in Antarctica. Megafauna such as humpback whales and orca, massive seals and stately penguins all take the brutal conditions head on and thrive in this year on ice.

2017 • Nature

Episode 3 Series 1

In the heart of the Atlantic, Gordon Buchanan joins a team looking to discover why huge numbers of devil rays, fish with 'wings' nearly four metres across, and gather every summer near the Azores archipelago. In northeast Turkey the on-board cameras are carried by brown bears as part of a study trying to understand why so many bears survive in a small patch of forest. In southern France on-board cameras help scientists trying to prove that guard dogs can help protect sheep flocks from wolf attacks. The night-vision cameras show how the dogs work together as a team to fend off the wolves.

S1E3Animals with Cameras • 2018 • Nature