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Ever wonder how the heart symbol came to stand for the actual heart? And why do we speak of the heart as the seat of love, when love really happens in our brains? Is it true that animals only get a billion heartbeats? This week, we give you enough cool cardiac science to make your heart skip a beat.
Why do we sleep? We spend a third of our lives in slumber, but science has yet to determine exactly why we have do it. Here’s a look at how sleep works, why we’re not getting enough sleep, what happens if you DON’T sleep, and an idea about where sleep came from in the first place.
2015 • Health
Professor Richard Fortey delves into the fascinating and normally-hidden kingdom of fungi. From their spectacular birth, through their secretive underground life to their final explosive death, Richard reveals a remarkable world that few of us understand or even realise exists - yet all life on Earth depends on it. In a specially-built mushroom lab, with the help of mycologist Dr Patrick Hickey and some state-of-the-art technology, Richard brings to life the secret world of mushrooms as never seen before and reveals the spectacular abilities of fungi to break down waste and sustain new plant life, keeping our planet alive. Beyond the lab, Richard travels across Britain and beyond to show us the biggest, fastest and most deadly organisms on the planet - all of them fungi. He reveals their almost magical powers that have world-changing potential - opening up new frontiers in science, medicine and technology.
2014 • Nature
Cameras follow the team every sweaty step of the way as they explore the beautiful wilderness of Guyana, from abseiling down one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world to climbing to the very top of the rainforest trees. Known as the land of giants, Guyana is home to the huge anaconda, the world's largest tarantula and giant otters.
Despite the scorching heat, a cold upwelling of nutrients in the Gulf of Oman creates favorable conditions for a host of marine migrants. The behemoth whale shark, hawksbill turtle, and millions of tiny, exotic fish settle in to feast. Take a plunge into the algae-cloaked coral reefs of this underwater tapestry.
The incredible anticipation of the annual great migration is being felt by all of the Serengeti's families as they wait with great desperation for it to arrive. The land continues to get hotter and hunger start to bite as food becomes ever more scarce for the predators. But life continues, with Kali the lioness and her sister entrusting their cubs to their new male babysitter, Sefu, with near-disastrous results. Bakari the baboon is shocked when a trip across the river to collect crocodile eggs looks like it will end in tragedy for his new female, Cheka, and the adopted baby. His rivalry with the troop leader then puts him and the baby in more danger. A family of wild dogs moves in, led by male Jasari. With a huge litter of pups, Jasari is ready to take advantage of the coming feast, but until the migrating herds arrive, it is a struggle to survive. Shani, a female zebra, is leading her family on the great migration. She is forced to stop temporarily to give birth to her foal, but as soon as he can run, they are off again heading towards the great river. When the herds finally arrive at the river, they find it teeming with crocodiles, and zebra mother Shani has to decide how and when she can take her newborn foal across the treacherous water. Lying in wait and watching them carefully is a large mother crocodile, who is determined to eat them if they try. With the great migration now in full flow, there are winners and losers on both sides. The awe-inspiring spectacle it brings are part of the deep seasonal rhythms that govern all life in the Serengeti.
Spring arrives in the polar regions, and the sun appears after an absence of five months; warmth and life return to these magical ice worlds - the greatest seasonal transformation on our planet is underway. Male Adelie penguins arrive in Antarctica to build their nests - it takes a good property to attract the best mates and the males will stop at nothing to better their rivals! But these early birds face the fiercest storms on the planet. In the Arctic, a polar bear mother is hunting with her cubs. Inland, the frozen rivers start to break up and billions of tons of ice are swept downstream in the greatest of polar spectacles. This melt-water fertilizes the Arctic Ocean, feeding vast shoals of Arctic cod and narwhal. The influx of freshwater accelerates the breakup of the sea-ice - an area of ice the size of Australia will soon vanish from the Arctic. On land, a woolly bear caterpillar emerges from the snow having spent the winter frozen solid. Caterpillars normally become moths within months of hatching, but life is so harsh here that the woolly bear takes 14 years to reach adulthood. Once mature it has only days to find a mate before it dies! Alongside the caterpillars white Arctic wolves race to raise their adorable cubs before the cold returns.