Investigates remote islands and their inhabitants. Some islands are tips of volcanoes; others are coral atolls. Those that colonise them transform into new species with comparative speed.
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Visits the world's deepest valley: the Kali Gandaki river in the Himalayas. Its temperatures range from those of the tropics in its lower reaches to that of the poles higher up. It therefore shows how creatures become adapted to living in certain environments.
1984 • Nature
Describes the inhospitable habitats of snow and ice. Mount Rainier in America is an example of such a place: there is no vegetation, therefore no herbivores and thus no carnivores. However, beneath its frosty surface, algae grow and some insects, such as ladybirds visit the slopes. Africa’s mountains are permanently snow-covered, and beneath peaks such as Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, there are communities of plants and animals.
1984 • Nature
Begins in northern Norway, 500 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. Here, there is only just enough light for the pine trees to survive, but it is extremely cold during the winter. Pine cone seeds provide one of the few foods available at this time of year, and large herbivores such as the moose must also rely on their fat reserves.
1984 • Nature
Ascends a kapok in the South American tropical rainforest to observe "the greatest proliferation of life that you can find anywhere on the surface of the Earth. There are two main causes for this: warmth and wetness. As this climate is constant, there are no seasons, so trees vary greatly in their flowering cycles.
1984 • Nature
Details coastal environments and the effect of tides, of which the highest can be found in the Bay of Fundy in North America. In places, erosion is causing the land to retreat, while in others — such as the tropics — the expansion of mangroves causes it to advance.
1984 • Nature
In episode three, Fortey looks at the Ice Age. 2.8 million years ago - triggered by slight changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun and shifts in its ocean currents - the world began to cool. Within a few thousand years much of the planet was shrouded in a dense cloak of ice that would come and go until only 10,000 years ago. We call this age of ice - the Pleistocene Age - and it transformed the hierarchy of nature. This is the story of how a few specialist species that evolved to live in the biting cold survived into the present day.
Everyone loves giraffes, but what do we really know about them? Dr Julian Fennessy starts to reveal their secrets - the most important being that they are disappearing. In an urgent and daring mission, with a determined Ugandan team, he plans to round up 20 of the world's rarest giraffe to take across and beyond the mighty Nile River. The stakes are high, but if they succeed the reward will be a brighter future for an animal we have somehow overlooked.
In this episode, Chris Packham tells the almost implausible story of how our world went from a barren rock with a sky of endless black, to the planet we know today, cloaked in the thin blue line of our life-sustaining atmosphere. When Earth first formed from clouds of dust and gas 4.6 billion years ago, it was - like so many other lifeless worlds in the universe - devoid of an atmosphere, an inhospitable rock floating in the black void of space. But as the young planet was pummelled by asteroids a period of extraordinary upheaval began. Over a two-billion-year period, the planet faced violent eruptions and a toxic orange haze, vast oceans of water in the sky and seas turning rusty red. Eventually, with the emergence of life and photosynthesis recalibrating the gases in our atmosphere, the stage was set for Earth to become the vibrant azure-skied planet we call home today.
Sir David Attenborough chooses his favourite recordings from the natural world that have revolutionised our understanding of song. Each one - from the song of the largest lemur to the song of the humpback whale to the song of the lyrebird - was recorded in his lifetime. When Sir David was born, the science of song had already been transformed by Charles Darwin’s theory of sexual selection: singing is dangerous as it reveals the singer’s location to predators, but it also offers the male a huge reward, the chance to attract a female and pass on genes to the next generation. Hence males sing and females don't. Today, new science in the field of birdsong is transforming those long-held ideas. Scientists are discovering that, in fact, in the majority of all songbird species, females sing - and it is only now they are being properly heard. Through this revelation and others, we can understand that animal songs are marvelous examples of the spectacular survival strategies that species have developed in order to stay alive.
2021 • Nature