Biology, Environment

Around the globe, unique and fascinating species face extinction from hunting and habitat destruction, which affects vulnerable animals in every kind of environment. Biologists, conservationists, wildlife preservation centers and zoological parks work to breed and shelter rare and critically endangered animals when and where they can, but many species are down to the last few individuals and face an increasingly uncertain future. For some, however, the future is all too clear. Lonesome George, a Pinta Island tortoise from the Galapagos Islands, is the very last of his kind.

In the animal kingdom, there's no shortage of bizarre behaviour. This episode burrows high and low ground to unearth some of the creepiest creatures who crawl on this planet! They range from those that fend off prey by squirting blood from their eyeballs, to others who eat their partner's right after mating, to others who raise their offspring in the carcasses of dead animals. And that's just a sampling of over 20 species whose antics you can hardly believe...or turn away from. (www.youtube.com)

National Geographic: Naked Science - Killer Lakes: Since the death of 1,700 people near Lake Nyos in Africa, scientists have uncovered a terrifying series of hazards in lakes across the world. (www.youtube.com)

Broadcast (2010) "Dogs Decoded" reveals the science behind the remarkable bond between humans and their dogs and investigates new discoveries in genetics that are illuminating the origin of dogs—with surprising implications for the evolution of human culture. Other research is proving what dog lovers have suspected all along: Dogs have an uncanny ability to read and respond to human emotions. Humans, in turn, respond to dogs with the same hormone responsible for bonding mothers to their babies. How did this incredible relationship between humans and dogs come to be?

Broadcast (2008) At a research site in Fongoli, Senegal, a female chimpanzee breaks off a branch, chews the end to make it sharp, then uses this rudimentary spear to skewer a tasty bushbaby hiding inside a hollow tree. The footage represents an astonishing breakthrough for primate researchers: It's the first time anyone has documented a chimpanzee wielding a carefully prepared, preplanned weapon. (www.youtube.com)

Broadcast (2011) Dr Alice Roberts reveals how your body tells the story of human evolution. The way you look, think and behave is a product of a 6 million year struggle for survival. We have uncovered the secrets of the atom and travelled to the moon. But how did humans come to be so successful? This series explores the anatomical changes that have given us, and our ancestors, the edge. Everything from the way that we walk, to the shape of our jaw and even the way our thumbs move connects us intimately to the struggles and triumphs of our ancestors.

Broadcast (2006) In a stunning six-part miniseries narrated by stage and film actor Liev Schreiber, this Nature series presents a compelling new vision of the epic forces that have shaped every aspect of existence on our planet, in Triumph of Life. More than three years in the making, Triumph of Life combines dramatic storytelling with powerful, groundbreaking scientific ideas in a sweeping story about survival and the survivors - the winners, for the moment at least, in an eternal battle. (www.youtube.com)

Broadcast 2012. In this episode, Chris travels to North America to witness the annual miracle of the temperate forest: the destruction of its ecosystem in winter, followed by it rebuilding itself in spring. Chris Marvels at the exquisite timing that is necessary in two particularly wonderful stories - the story of how the Canada lynx depends for its prey on a caterpillar high up in the canopy, and the story of why the giant trees of the north-west are dependent on bears and salmon. (www.youtube.com)

Get ready to brush feathers with the freakiest members of the winged world. Take a whirlwind tour of the planet's wackiest and most fearsome fliers. Check out dancing manikins that bust out the moonwalk to impress the ladies; shrikes that impale their prey before ripping it apart; and lyrebirds with enough snazzy solos for a whole glee club. Plus discover that the sky isn't just for the birds. Venture into treetops ruled by gliding snakes and rivers teeming with jumping carp staging an airborne invasion.

This NOVA scienceNOW poses the question - How Smart are Animals? - and host Neil deGrasse Tyson tackles one of science's major challenges in each episode. He will guide us as he explores dramatic discoveries and the frontiers of research that connect each central, provocative mystery. (www.youtube.com)

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