Discover the evolutionary secrets of some of the world’s most majestic creatures. From voracious crocodiles and acrobatic birds to stupendous whales and majestic elephants, WHEN WHALES WALKED follows top scientists on a global adventure as they follow clues from the fossil record and change what we thought we knew about the evolution of iconic beasts.
Fortey travels to Madeira to examine what happens to a volcanic island as it nears the end of its life-cycle and starts sinking back into the sea. Here, in the island's laurisilva forest, he examines the remains of an ancient forest that once carpeted all of Europe, finds island lizards that live to be four times older than their mainland counterparts, and meets a huge wolf spider. With the help of local divers, he also discovers an unexpectedly rich marine habitat populated by whales, dolphins and unusual deep-sea species that have much to tell us about the changing nature of our seas.
Liz Bonnin introduces a cast of charismatic animals to reveal the remarkable strategies they use to survive, and even thrive, in winter. For animals this is the toughest time of year, and preparations start early. In autumn, Siberian chipmunks collect food in their cheek pouches to stockpile in their burrows, while caribou make an epic journey to new feeding areas away from the worst weather. With the arrival of winter, the American bobcat has to find its prey beneath deep snow, while an Arctic fox must sniff out its very own frozen ready meal. A sea otter mum keeps her cub warm by blowing air into its coat, while some animals turn white to blend in with the snowy world around them. As winter begins to loosen its grip, an Arctic ground squirrel stirs from an eight-month hibernation and has to woo its mate in just twelve hours, and baby animals emerge to play in the snow before spring's imminent arrival. Along the way, Liz meets some of our most iconic winter animals to uncover the secrets behind their seasonal success stories.
2019 • Nature
Two billion years ago, a giant meteorite crashed into southern Africa's interior plateau, forming a six-mile-deep crater. Today, the site of this cataclysmic event is the Vredefort Dome--a dazzling and rich ecosystem of unique plant and animal life.
Thanks to new technologies combining genetics, ethology, geology and even particle physics, paleontologists can now recreate the missing branches of the tree of life. Because of this, it has been discovered that prehistoric mammals were more varied and numerous than previously thought.
Biologists teach that all living things on Earth are related. Is there any solid evidence to back this claim? Join us as we explore the facts! We start with a close look at the origin of whales from land mammals, and then touch on the origins of several other critters, including our own species.