animals

Dive deep into the realm of creepy aquatic creatures to uncover the world's most bizarre water-dwelling tenants. Among them, a fish with a transparent head shows off everything it's got. Hermaphrodite flatworms battle to determine which among them will be male or female. A master-of-disguise octopus camouflages itself as a rock, a plant and even as a snake, to capture prey or elude pursuit. A lizard literally walks on water, while a fish "walks" on dry land to find a mate, and that's just for starters. (www.youtube.com)

A documentary of insect life in meadows and ponds, using incredible close-ups, slow motion, and time-lapse photography. It includes bees collecting nectar, ladybugs eating mites, snails mating, spiders wrapping their catch, a scarab beetle relentlessly pushing its ball of dung uphill, endless lines of caterpillars, an underwater spider creating an air bubble to live in, and a mosquito hatching. Written by Will Gilbert (www.imdb.com)

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)

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)

Broadcast (2006) Most animals, and even a few plants, move. They swim, walk, run or fly in a wide range of ways, and in this programme we look at how designers of planes, cars and robots have found inspiration in nature. But biomimetics is not just about copying nature, it's about understanding the principles behind nature's success and applying those in new and surprising ways. So exploring the world of cars and planes also gives us some startling new insights into nature as well.

Broadcast (2012) Adam Rutherford meets a new creature created by American scientists, the spider-goat. It is part goat, part spider, and its milk can be used to create artificial spider's web. It is part of a new field of research, synthetic biology, with a radical aim: to break down nature into spare parts so that we can rebuild it however we please. This technology is already being used to make bio-diesel to power cars. Other researchers are looking at how we might, one day, control human emotions by sending 'biological machines' into our brains. (www.youtube.com)

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