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
Category:Science Duration:02:00:00 Series: Evolution
If you're a paleontology buff, this series is for you. And the fun-loving Nigel Marvin provides a great narrative. Explore the prehistoric world in search of sea-based monsters. It focuses on life in ancient oceans during each prehistoric period. Nothing, not the carnivorous dinosaurs of the past, nor the imagined sea serpents and monsters of maritime history, nor the great white shark, salt water crocodile, killer whale and leopard seal of today can compare to the horrifying hunters of the prehistoric oceans.
Category:Science Duration:29:00 Series: Chased by Sea Monsters
Professor Brian Cox examines how it was that in a universe made of stars, rocks and endless space, a conscious civilisation was born. His latest adventure takes him from a submerged space station in Star City on the outskirts of Moscow, to Ethiopia, high above in the Great Rift Valley, where he encounters the geladas, mankind's distant ancestors. Despite once being Africa's most successful primate, a species who at one time roamed across the entire continent, these days they are found in one just place in the remote Ethiopian Highlands. Cox investigates why these ancestors retreated, yet modern mankind has expanded across the planet.
Category:History Duration:59:00 Series: Human Universe
The first episode looks at how birds first took to the skies in the wake of the insects. It begins in Mexico, where Sir Attenborough observes bats being outmanoeuvred by a red-tailed hawk. Pterosaurs were the birds' forerunners, some 150 million years after dragonflies developed the means of flight, but eventually went extinct together with the dinosaurs. Birds had by then already evolved from early forms like archaeopteryx, the first creature to possess feathers. Its ancestry can be traced through reptiles, and some current species, such as the flying lizard, possibly show paths this evolution may have taken." One of the biggest birds to have ever existed was the terror bird, which proliferated after dinosaurs vanished and stood up to 2.5 metres tall. By comparison, the ostrich, while not closely related, is the largest and heaviest living bird. It was probably the evasion of predators that drove most birds into the air, so their flightless cousins evolved because they had few enemies. Accordingly, such species are more likely to be found on islands, and Sir Attenborough visits New Zealand to observe its great variety, most especially the kiwi. Also depicted is the moa, another huge creature that is now gone. The takahē is extremely rare, and high in the mountains of New Zealand, Sir Attenborough discovers one from a population of only 40 pairs. Finally, another example on the brink of extinction is the kakapo, which at one point numbered only 61 individuals. A male is heard calling — an immensely amplified deep note that can be heard at great distances from its nest.
Category:Nature Duration:50:00 Series: The Life of Birds
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