It’s a tough, violent, and lethal world out there, and it’s been that way since the dawn of time. Roughly 99 percent of all species have become extinct.
What enabled that other one percent to survive the cutthroat competition? Their ability to…. EVOLVE.
Through a stunning combination of dramatizations, computer animations, live action nature footage and lab work, discover the biological and behavioral innovations that have kept us all on this Earth!
1. Eyes – Seeing is believing … not to mention evading, eating and surviving! Learn how the eyeball evolved from ancestors of jellyfish who developed light-sensitive cells to the unique adaptations that allowed primates to better exploit their new habitat, while the ability to see colors helped them find food.
2. Sex – Sex is a necessity for most species to survive. As evolution continues, are we approaching a time when sex will no longer be a necessity? How is this possible?
3. Size – How do we measure up? Understand the amazing processes that gave us vertebrates smaller than a thumbnail (a Cuban frog) and longer than a diesel locomotive (a blue whale). But what are the mechanisms of these adaptations, the evolutionary pressures that effect size, and the physical limits life can attain?
4. Skin – Skin is absolutely amazing, far more complex and versatile than we ever give it credit for. It makes up 16% of your body weight, is the largest organ in the human body, allows birds to fly, mammals to nurse their young, and provides a lifelong defense against predators and parasites alike.
5. Flight – In this high-flying episode, unearth the secrets, and the continuing mysteries, of the very first vertebrate flyer, the pterosaur, which escaped its earthly bounds 220 million years ago. This creature eventually evolved into flying Goliaths the size of small planes!
6. Communications – Communication isn’t just the key to a good relationship; it also goes a long way toward ensuring the success of a species. While humans, comfortable at the top of the food chain, have made the most out of this particular evolutionary achievement, organisms everywhere – from dolphins to amoebae – can be found speaking to one another.
7. Guts – It doesn’t just take willpower to survive. It takes guts. Life needs energy to exist and almost all animals get their energy in the same way – with a built in power plant, a digestive system that turns food into fuel. Take a close look at the role guts have played in shaping some of Earth’s most successful animals: dinosaurs, snakes, cows, and us.
8. Venom – The deadliest natural weapon employed in the animal kingdom has independently evolved in creatures as diverse as jellyfish, insects, snakes, and even mammals. Scientists from around the globe show how evolution adapted venom to fit the needs of the animals who wield it.
9. Speed – The ability to react and move can often mean the difference between life and death in the animal kingdom. Some animals have evolved into championship fliers, swimmers, and runners. What are the forces that create this need for speed, and how do animal bodies adapt to go into overdrive?
10. Jaws – Get ready to pry open some of the deadliest jaws on the planet as we expose this fierce and ferocious anatomical weapon. Sharp, menacing and more than an eating apparatus, the jaws of many animals are key to their survival. Go back along the evolutionary line to discover how various jaws developed in the first place.
11. Shape – Every shape in nature, no matter how bizarre it may appear, evolved as a result of the struggle for survival. Today, animals are shaped in so many different ways and most of them have strange bodies, weird looking. But shape is still vital.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 8 hours)