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In this 6-part series, David Attenborough reveals the most intriguing animals he's met during his incomparable career. Each 30-minute episode features two species connected by a distinctive evolutionary quirk. Our planet is populated with amazing animals that have extraordinary life histories.
Some have been perpetually surrounded by myth and misunderstanding, and some have only recently revealed their secrets. Using the latest findings from cutting-edge science, this fascinating series reveals the remarkable evolutionary traits behind these wonders of the natural world. Still as inquisitive and passionate as ever, David brings these singular stories to life with great knowledge and verve.
1. Impossible Feats: David presents modern methods to thoroughly test reputed extraordinary performances of super-athletic species. First the muscular strength and jumping ability of insects many time exceeding, in comparison, the best mammal performances, notably the flee, thanks to anatomy and a superior enzyme. Then the cheetah, speed champion on land, albeit it less bullet-like then long assumed due to faulty measuring.
2. Curious Minds: David presents the progress into IQ research concerning some highly intelligent, long under-estimated species. First the orangutan, a forest primate from the Indonesian jungles, originally mistaken for a violent degenerated human, hen believed never to use its learning ability, shown in captivity, in the wild, as research on Borneo indicated, but now found enterprising in more demanding Sumatran marshes. Next the crow family, which proves that predatory birds can be as observant and agile problem-solvers as any primate.
3. Expandable Bodies: David examines myth and truth about the camel's unique capacity to function during long periods without water, especially the function of its fat-storing hump, and its Arctic ancestor. Next the largest constrictor snakes, Amazonian anaconda and African python, who devour and digest preys far larger then themselves, without actually dislocating their yaws, but inflate their digestive system to double size.
4. Curious Feeders: David focuses on two remarkable cases of surprising adaptation to as species's diet. First the whale, long mistaken for an alpha predator, whose giant body is fitted to sift and consume plankton (krill). Next flamingos, built to eat head inverted in extremely inhospitable waters, hot, salty and even exhuming poisonous fumes.
5. Curious Cures: David looks into surprising preventive and curative 'medicine' developed by certain species. The hippopotamus secretes a red slime, which turns out to act as a highly efficient sun screen and disinfectant. Monkeys, like the South American capuchin, make extensive and efficient use of various citrus and other plants to repel bugs and treat bites.
6. Remarkable Regeneration: David discusses two families with remarkable powers of regenerating unusually large body parts easily. Salamanders do so when a large chunk, such as the tail or a limb, has been bitten off by a predator. Male moose and various members of the deer family grow and shed truly-bony antlers every year, used to fight duels for mating rights.