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My Octopus Teacher
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"Bats " Sort by
Could the source of the world’s deadliest viruses hold the secret to a healthier and longer life? Bats have a sinister reputation as potential sources for some of the deadliest disease outbreaks: Ebola, MERS, SARS, and most recently, the virus behind the COVID-19 global pandemic. Yet scientists are discovering new evidence that bats are biological marvels and may hold a key to longevity. They’re resistant to the diseases they carry and have freakishly long lifespans for their tiny size.
So, what’s their secret? And what else can we learn from their peculiar biology? From caves in Thailand and Texas to labs around the globe, the films meets the scientists who are decoding the superpowers of the bat.
Conquest of the Skies The first to flight
2015 Nature 3D
David Attenborough embarks on an extraordinary journey to unravel one of nature s most gripping stories the evolution of flying animals. The power of flight is one of the greatest miracles of nature. Over one hundred billion creatures soar through the air today - from nectar-drinking hummingbirds, to armoured airborne beetles; from bats hunting in the black of night, to bizarre winged lizards. The film travels back in time to unravel the astonishing 300-million-year story of how these animals first appeared, and then evolved into the huge variety of aeronauts that fill our skies today. Only now, using the latest scientific analysis, can he reveal the hidden mechanics behind their gravity-defying skills. Ground-breaking 3D cameras, high speed filming and stunning CGI bring the viewer closer than ever to this astounding aerial world.
Conquest of the Skies
To Fly or Not to Fly
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.
The Life of Birds
East Africa is a land which is constantly changing. To survive here, creatures must be able to deal with unpredictable twists and turns - wet turning to dry, feast to famine, cold to hot - no matter how hostile it becomes. From dense forests to snow capped peaks, steamy swamps and endless savannah, this unique and varied land is also a haven for life, supporting large animals in numbers found nowhere else on Earth. But away from the familiar, forever-travelling herds, there are a huge cast of other characters - lizards that steal flies from the faces of lions, vast dinosaur-like birds who stalk catfish through huge wetlands, and an eagle who risks everything on the arrival of ten million bats from a far off rainforest.
Africa with David Attenborough
Mammals dominate the planet. They do it through having warm blood and by the care they lavish on their young. Weeks of filming in the bitter Antarctic winter reveal how a mother Weddell seal wears her teeth down keeping open a hole in the ice so she can catch fish for her pup. A powered hot air balloon produces stunning images of millions of migrating bats as they converge on fruiting trees in Zambia, and slow-motion cameras reveal how a mother rufous sengi exhausts a chasing lizard. A gyroscopically stabilised camera moves alongside migrating caribou, and a diving team swim among the planet's biggest fight as male humpback whales battle for a female.
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