A Winning Design clarifies what makes a mammal different from reptiles and birds. No, it isn't egg-laying: both the platypus and the echidna are egg-laying mammals; it's their ability to adapt. And it's this adaptability that becomes the crux of the remainder of the series. From the tiniest bat to the massive blue whale, all mammals share the ability to nurture their young on milk and regulate their own temperatures.
Category:Nature Duration:49:00 Series: The Life of Mammals
David Attenborough asks three key questions: how and why did Darwin come up with his theory of evolution? Why do we think he was right? And why is it more important now than ever before? David starts his journey in Darwin's home at Down House in Kent, where Darwin worried and puzzled over the origins of life. David goes back to his roots in Leicestershire, where he hunted for fossils as a child, and where another schoolboy unearthed a significant find in the 1950s. And he revisits Cambridge University, where both he and Darwin studied, and where many years later the DNA double helix was discovered, providing the foundations for genetics. At the end of his journey in the Natural History Museum in London, David concludes that Darwin's great insight revolutionised the way in which we see the world. We now understand why there are so many different species, and why they are distributed in the way they are. But above all, Darwin has shown us that we are not set apart from the natural world, and do not have dominion over it. We are subject to its laws and processes, as are all other animals on earth to which, indeed, we are related.
Blue whales are the largest animals to ever live on earth, yet they are difficult to find or track. Even some of the locations where they birth their young are great secrets. Join some of the world's eminent blue whale scientists as they embark on a revolutionary mission to identify and tag California blue whales as they migrate to a spot known as the Costa Rica Dome. This incredible voyage yields unforgettable new footage and insight into these amazing creatures' lives. Scientists use DNA analysis, recordings of whale songs, homing devices, and sea dives to shed light on the blue whale's breeding and birthing habits
Sagan discusses the story of the Heike crab and artificial selection of crabs resembling samurai warriors, as an opening into a larger discussion of evolution through natural selection (and the pitfalls of intelligent design). Among the topics are the development of life on the Cosmic Calendar and the Cambrian explosion; the function of DNA in growth; genetic replication, repairs, and mutation; the common biochemistry of terrestrial organisms; the creation of the molecules of life in the Miller-Urey experiment; and speculation on alien life (such as life in Jupiter's clouds). In the Cosmos Update ten years later, Sagan remarks on RNA also controlling chemical reactions and reproducing itself and the different roles of comets (potentially carrying organic molecules or causing the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event).
Category:Science Duration:01:00:00 Series: Cosmos
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