The Amber Time Machine

2004 ,    »  -   22 Comments
Ratings: 8.93/10 from 54 users.

Amber is one of David Attenborough's great passions - he is captivated by its beauty and the animals frozen within it in perfect detail. In a personal journey he traces the history of a piece he has had since he was a boy, traveling back millions of years to the age of dinosaurs to unravel its secrets.

The documentary 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.

It then shows how a group of scientists can reconstruct an entire twenty million year old ecosystem through pieces of Dominican amber. Examples include a tadpole preserved in amber after falling from a Bromeliad.

Attenborough then discusses the scientific feasibility of DNA being preserved in amber, and the science behind the 1993 hit thriller Jurassic Park, in which David's brother, Richard Attenborough starred as John Hammond.

Several attempts were tried, with DNA eventually being recovered from a weevil that was several million years older than Tyrannosaurus rex. Attenborough reasons that a few old, rare pieces of amber may contain DNA.

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22 Comments / User Reviews

  1. BeardHero420

    David Attenborough? Yeah I'm on it!

    Edit: Part one seems to be broken, but that didn't dissuade me from watching the rest.

    Exceptional doc with the best presenter in the business. I always learn something new from Attenborough.

  2. wald0

    Can't wait to watch this, but I must- people to do and things to see, you know. When you see Attenborough's name on it you immediately know it's going to be good, he is probably the most successful "brand name" in the industry. I have never seen a project he was invovled in turn out to be less than great. He is like the Carl Sagan of biology, a legend.

  3. Jane Haydon

    I do not usually watch a doc as soon as I get up but this one! My Mum has an amber bead necklace that was her Mum`s so I grew to love it as a child. This was an amazing doc and actually gave me a few spinal shivers. Thankyou so much! A very happy and healthy 2012 to you Vlatko and to all the people who post. I do enjoy the regulars and learn things and laugh at you brainy lot! Cheers!

  4. Tanzanos Eleytheros

    EXCELLENT. Thank you very much!

  5. James Farrelly

    Video very shaky. Can you correct this?

  6. Teddy Mcd

    Dazzling doc for sure. 'Tho it did not answer the DNA-amber question - because science doesn't have that answer yet - maybe tomorrow.

    And besides I know now that when I die? No dirt-blanket, no incinerator, no mummification, no Ganges river - nope! Encapsulate me in amber with a smoke in my mouth, beer in one hand and a pen in the other and sit me in the corner and I'll wait until... -until.

    Thank you David.

  7. Fishsticks421

    Very good. Thanks

  8. Savage Henry

    Was always wondering when and how the BBC would tie the two Attenboroughs together. ;) This should be awesome :)

  9. drinker69


  10. Nikhil Sadalkar

    a beautiful documentary, got me fascinated about amber :D

  11. Guest

    Well done! Reconstructing the past with sap. Attenborough would be a super grandfather to have around.

  12. Guest

    I like that they are in their natural shape and not made into jewlery. Did you find them yourself?

  13. KooKookaChoo

    so jealous...

  14. barry4211

    David Attenborough is a great man i wish i had his knowledge

  15. dylans12

    Lovely documentary.

  16. Marion Pellerin

    That was Fantastic, David Attenborough is splendid.

  17. Marion Pellerin

    oh man im jelous, without all the hate part of it :)

  18. Vincent Ambrose

    nice collection <<--- diff.colors,shapes ..natural state ..
    hope I spelled your name right <<---

  19. Vincent Ambrose

    nice collection <<--- diff.colors,shapes ..natural state ....awesome amber

    hope I spelled your name right <<---

  20. Ken Edds

    Excellent, from beginning to end. I hava a small collection of amber from various sites. I have the Grimalidi and Poinar books in my amber reference library. The photography and narration in this documentary accurately illuminated what I have learned about this wonder of natural history. Thank you for offering this documentary for viewing here.

  21. Juliet

    The youtube video wont work :'(

  22. Hunter

    Says the video is private.... Could someone look into this please?

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