Last Watched

"Biology"  Sort by

Growing

   1994    Nature
The second episode is about how plants gain their sustenance. Sunlight is one of the essential requirements if a seed is to germinate, and Attenborough highlights the cheese plant as an example whose young shoots head for the nearest tree trunk and then climb to the top of the forest canopy, developing its leaves en route. Using sunshine, air, water and a few minerals, the leaves are, in effect, the "factories" that produce food. However, some, such as the begonia, can thrive without much light. To gain moisture, plants typically use their roots to probe underground. Trees pump water up pipes that run inside their trunks, and Attenborough observes that a sycamore can do this at the rate of 450 litres an hour — in total silence. Too much rainfall can clog up a leaf's pores, and many have specially designed 'gutters' to cope with it. However, their biggest threat is from animals, and some require extreme methods of defence, such as spines, camouflage, or poison. Some can move quickly to deter predators: the mimosa can fold its leaves instantly when touched, and the Venus flytrap eats insects by closing its leaves around its prey when triggered. Another carnivorous plant is the trumpet pitcher that snares insects when they fall into its tubular leaves. Attenborough visits Borneo to see the largest pitcher of them all, Nepenthes rajah, whose traps contain up to two litres of water and have been known to kill small rodents.
Series: The Private Life of Plants

Nature Microworlds: Galapagos

   2012    Nature
A visit to arguably the most famous archipelago on Earth, the Galapagos. It's home to a myriad of bizarre and unique creatures, endemic to these islands - but how did they get here and what is the key to these extraordinary islands that allows them to thrive? The programme reveals that this key holds not just the secret to life here, but also to how Darwin was able to leave with the ideas that would revolutionise biology.

Who Will We Be

   2015    Medicine
In ‘Who will we be?’ Dr. David Eagleman journeys into the future, and asks what’s next for the human brain, and for our species. We stand at a major turning point, one where we might take control of our own development. We face a future of uncharted possibilities in which our relationship with our own body, our relationship with the world, the very basic nature of who we are is set to be transformed. For thousands of generations, humans have lived the same life cycle over and over. We are born, we control a fragile body, we experience a limited reality, and we die. But science and technology are giving us tools to transcend that evolutionary story. Our brains don't have to remain as we have inherited them. We are capable of extending our reality, of inhabiting new bodies, and possibly shedding our physical forms altogether. And we are discovering the tools to shape our own destiny. Who we become is up to us.
Series: The Brain with David Eagleman

Surviving

   1995    Nature
the final episode deals with plants that live in hostile environments. Attenborough visits Ellesmere Island, north of the Arctic Circle, to demonstrate that even in a place that is unconducive to life, it can be found. Algae and lichens grow in or on rock, and during summer, when the ice melts, flowers are much more apparent. However, they must remain close to the ground to stay out of the chilling wind. In the Tasmanian mountains, plants conserve heat by growing into 'cushions' that act as solar panels, with as many as a million individual shoots grouped together as one. Others, such as the lobelia in Mount Kenya, have a 'fur coat' of dense hairs on their leaves. The saguaro cactus in the Sonoran Desert flourishes because of its ability to retain vast amounts of water, which can't be lost through leaves because it has none. Many desert dwellers benefit from an accelerated life cycle, blooming rapidly within weeks after rainfall. Conversely, Mount Roraima is one of the wettest places on Earth. It is a huge sandstone plateau with high waterfalls and nutrients are continuously washed away, so plants have to adapt their diet if they are to survive. A bladderwort is shown invading a bromeliad. Inhabitants of lakes have other problems to contend with: those that dominate the surface will proliferate, and the Amazon water lily provides an apt illustration. Attenborough ends the series with an entreaty for the conservation of plant species.
Series: The Private Life of Plants

Evolution: Great Transformations

   2004    Science
What triggered the incredible diversity of life on Earth, and how have complex life forms, including humans, evolved? Is there direction to evolution? And is human intelligence inevitable? This program focuses on evolution's 'great transformations' —among them the development of a standard four-limbed body plan, the journey from water to land, the return of marine mammals to the sea, and the emergence of humans. Driven by a combination of opportunism and a genetic 'toolkit', these astounding leaps forward define the arc of evolution. And they suggest that every living creature on earth today, and every species that has ever existed, is a variation on a grand genetic theme—a member of one, and only one, tree of life
Series: Evolution
The Story of the Jews
The Story of the Jews

   2013    History
Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle
Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle

   2018    History
Senna
Senna

   2010    Culture
Magic Numbers
Magic Numbers

   2018    Science
Inner Worlds Outer Worlds
Inner Worlds Outer Worlds

   2012    Culture
The Nazis, A Warning From History
The Nazis, A Warning From History

   1997    History
Leaving Neverland
Leaving Neverland

   2019    Culture