Natural History

Broadcast (1996) David Attenborough turns his life long fascination with amber into a time travelling detective story that spans 150 million years. Examining and identifying the contents of this unique material , he opens a window into prehistoric tropical rainforests and unravels detailed stories about the plants and animals that lived there. The episode shows Attenborough searching for the identities of preserved creatures inside a piece of Baltic Amber that was given to him by his adoptive sister when he was twelve years old.

Broadcast (2012) During construction at a Colorado ski resort, a bulldozer dug up something strange: a tooth so huge it had to be held in two hands. Racing to the scene, scientists from the local Denver museum could scarcely believe what they found: a vast trove of fossils from the depths of the Ice Age 100,000 years ago, when North America teemed with incredible beasts: massive mastodons, saber tooth cats and camels, giant bison with six-foot horns, and ground sloths as big as elephants with huge claws. (www.youtube.com)

Broadcast (2008) Most people imagine dinosaurs lurking in warm locales with swamps and jungles, dining on vegetation and each other. But "Arctic Dinosaurs" reveals that many species also thrived in the harsh environments of the north and south polar regions. NOVA follows two high-stakes expeditions and the paleontologists who push the limits of science to unearth 70 million-year-old fossils buried in the vast Alaskan tundra. (www.youtube.com)

Broadcast (2002) The best way to find food is to go out and hunt for it. But to hunt, you need to be able to move forward. And to move forward, you usually need a head with paired sense organs to know where you are going attached to a symmetrical body to get you there. Scientists believe that a flatworm like animal was the first creature to develop a head, brain, paired senses and a tail, the first to move forward and thus the first to hunt for food and mates. This breakthrough in bilateral design was enormous.

Broadcast (2009) Documentary telling the little known story of how Darwin came to write his great masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, a book which explains the wonderful variety of the natural world as emerging out of death and the struggle of life. The story is told with the benefit of Darwin's secret notes and correspondence, enhanced by natural history filming, imagery from the time and contributions from leading contemporary biographers and scientists. It took twenty years to develop a brilliant idea into a revolutionary book that changed the way we see the world.

Broadcast (2012) Professor Alice Roberts reveals the natural history of the most famous of Ice Age animals - the woolly mammoth. Mammoths have transfixed humans since the depths of the last Ice Age, when their herds roamed across what is now Europe and Asia. Although these curious members of the elephant family have now been extinct for thousands of years, scientists can now paint an incredibly detailed picture of their lives thanks to whole carcasses that have been beautifully preserved in the Siberian permafrost.

Charles Darwin's theories radically changed the way we view the evolution of man; other top discoveries in evolution include the Burgess Shale fossils that provide a snapshot of ancient life andthe KT Asteroid which caused the demise of the dinosaurs. (www.youtube.com)

Broadcast (2003) In 1848 a strange skull was discovered on the military outpost of Gibraltar. It was undoubtedly human, but also had some of the heavy features of an ape... distinct brow ridges, and a forward projecting face. Just what was this ancient creature? And when had it lived? As more remains were discovered one thing became clear, this creature had once lived right across Europe. The remains were named Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal man) an ancient and primitive form of human.

Broadcast (2003) Understanding of humans' earliest past often comes from studying fossils. They tell us much of what we know about the people who lived before us. There is one thing fossils cannot tell us; at what point did we stop living day-to-day and start to think symbolically, to represent ideas about our environment and how we could change it? At a dig in South Africa the discovery of a small piece of ochre pigment, 70,000 years old, has raised some very interesting questions. (www.youtube.com)

And Man Created Dog, National Geographic documentary about evolution from wolves to domesticated dogs. (www.youtube.com)

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