Filmed over two years in a remote part of the Canada. Cameras observe a young female grizzly as she grows into adulthood. Filmed over two years, the documentary features vistas of open plains on the Arctic Circle and frigid rivers in vast mountain ranges. Against the backdrop of the vast Yukon tundra, the climate changes from frigid winter to spring thaw with a brief sunny season in-between. The cast of characters features hulking male grizzlies, mothers and cubs socialising until the salmon runs begin. Female bears must consume enough salmon during this brief time in order to sustain the cubs that will be born during the winter.
The next programme explores the various sea-living invertebrates. In Morocco, the limestones are 600 million years old, and contain many invertebrate fossils. They fall broadly into three categories: shells, crinoids and segmented shells. The evolution of shelled creatures is demonstrated with the flatworm, which eventually changed its body shape when burrowing became a necessity for either food or safety. It then evolved shielded tentacles and the casings eventually enveloped the entire body: these creatures are the brachiopods. The most successful shelled animals are the molluscs, of which there are some 80,000 different species.
To fly like a bird, Earthflight not only captured remarkable images of wild flocks but also relied on some extraordinary relationships between people and birds. Filmed over four years, in six continents and more than 40 countries, the Earthflight team used many extraordinary techniques. For some of the unique flying shots, members of the team became part of the flock. The birds followed wherever they went - even in a microlight over Edinburgh and London. In Africa, paragliders floated alongside wild vultures, while a model vulture carried a camera inside the flock. In South America, wild-living macaws, that were rescued as babies, still come back to visit their 'foster mother' as he travels along a jungle river. In Africa, a radio-controlled 'drone' silently infiltrates masses of pink flamingos without disturbing a feather, and microlights and helicopters capture the dramatic moment white storks arrive over Istanbul. In Africa a tame vulture carried a camera across the African bush and recreated the behaviour of his wild relatives. Similarly, in the USA, a flock of hand-reared snow geese followed the migration route of wild flocks and took in the sights and sounds of New York - managing to get lost in Brooklyn
This episode focuses on the Jurassic period, a time when the first giant killers stalked the Earth and lurked in the seas; a time when the slightest advantage meant the difference between life and death. In North America the iconic allosaurus, an ambush hunter with a lethal bite, dominated. Not even the heavily-armoured stegosaurus was safe from this killer, and incredible evidence reveals a glimpse of a vicious battle between these two giants. Life in Jurassic oceans was no easier; in 2008, a fossil was dug out of a frozen island high in the Arctic. It was a colossal marine reptile, twice as big as most ocean predators, at 15 metres long and weighing about 45 tonnes. This was Predator X. Its skull alone was nearly twice the size of a tyrannosaurus rex's, and its bite force unmatched by anything in the Jurassic seas. The balance of power between predator and prey is a fine one, as prey continually evolves different ways to avoid predators. But for the most successful and enduring predators, the battle to survive has always been tipped in their favour.
Every year, five million people visit London's Natural History Museum to see its incredible collection, from extraordinary dinosaurs to giant whales, and rare fossils to space rocks said to be as old as the solar system itself. But only a fraction of the staggering 80 million items in the collection are on display. Here cameras capture some of these incredible specimens, revealing the unique and rare pieces too valuable to exhibit.
David Attenborough looks at the mammals that hunt insects. These creatures shared the planet with the dinosaurs, but when the giant reptiles disappeared they seized their chance to conquer new territory. David meets moles that swim through sand, a shrew that hunts underwater and another that sprints down polished running tracks so fast that most predators can't catch it.
David Attenborough's entertaining romp through the world of monkeys has a serious side: for when we look at monkeys, we can see ourselves. From memory to morality, from 'crying wolf' to politics, monkeys are our basic blueprint. Pygmy marmosets 'farm' tree sap; bearded capuchins in Brazil develop a production line for extracting palm nuts; white-faced capuchins in Costa Rica tenderly nurse the victims of battle; and in the Ethiopian highlands, a deposed gelada baboon has got the blues. Cheating, lying and bare-faced murder are all there too. These revelations of simian science, combined with captivating photography, make this film about monkey business our business.
2008 • Nature