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Simply the Best Documentaries

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Unity
History of the World in Two Hours
Audrey Hepburn: The Fairest Lady
Michael Moore in TrumpLand
Aliens
Is There a Shadow Universe
Land of the Cave-Bear
The Private Life of Plants Living Together
Weapons of Mass Extinction
Life of a Universe End of Days
WWII In 3D
Requiem for the American Dream
Rothko
Heart of a Dog
Planet Ocean
Ancient Aliens Debunked: Nazca Lines
Ancient Aliens Debunked: Anunnaki
Artic
Intimate Relations
Pluto and Beyond
Bomb It
Into the Abyss
Boko Haram and Unnatural Selection
One Life on the Limit
The Nazis, A Warning From History. Episode 5
Building the Sun The 250 Million Degree Problem
Humpback Whales
When Did Time Begin
What the World is Waiting for - British Indie
Little Das Hunt
Mission Pluto
Is Anybody Out There
Great Plains
Great Plains
IMAX Hubble
Age of Empire

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To Fly or Not to Fly
To Fly or Not to Fly 1998

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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