David Attenborough's comprehensive study of how a remarkable group of animals evolved - a group that includes ourselves.
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2003   2002  
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The Life of Birds (TV Series 1998)
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David Attenborough's comprehensive and richly detailed study of birds, examining the variety of different species and their ways of life.

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A nature documentary series written and presented by David Attenborough, that looks at the evolution and habits of amphibians and reptiles.

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Life in the Undergrowth (TV Mini-Series 2005)
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David Attenborough's ground-breaking exploration of a group of organisms that are vast in number, yet often too small to be noticed: the invertebrates.

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The Private Life of Plants (TV Series 1995)
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David Attenborough's study of the world of plants, which demonstrates, with the aid of time-lapse photography, the rich and varied ways in which they flourish.

Stars: David Attenborough
Life in the Freezer (TV Series 1993)
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Series exploring the natural history of Antarctica.

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Madagascar (TV Mini-Series 2011)
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Over 80% of Madagascar's animals and plants are found nowhere else on Earth. Discover what made Madagascar so different from the rest of the world, and how evolution ran wild there.

Stars: David Attenborough, John Brown, Rainer Dolch
The Living Planet (TV Series 1984)
Documentary
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David Attenborough discusses the biomass and life in a variety of eco-systems spanning many of the environments found on Earth (from tropical to polar).

Stars: David Attenborough
Life on Earth (TV Mini-Series 1979)
Documentary
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David Attenborough's groundbreaking study of the evolution of life on our planet.

Stars: David Attenborough
The Trials of Life (TV Series 1990)
Documentary
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Each of the twelve 50-minute episodes features a different aspect of the journey through life, from birth to adulthood and continuation of the species through reproduction.

Stars: David Attenborough
Nature's Most Amazing Events (TV Mini-Series 2009)
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This is a documentary series looking at the most dramatic wildlife spectacles on our planet. We see the impact of the melting of the arctic ice in the summer, the annual return of the ... See full summary »

Stars: David Attenborough, Joe Stevens, Paul Beilstein
Attenborough in Paradise (TV Movie 1996)
Documentary
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David Attenborough travels to the forests of Papua New Guinea, where 38 of the 42 kinds of bird of paradise are found.

Director: Paul Reddish
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State of the Planet (TV Series 2000)
Documentary
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David Attenborough investigates the latest scientific research to discover whether or not there is a global environmental crisis, and, if so, what solutions there are to it.

Stars: David Attenborough
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 Himself - Presenter (10 episodes, 2002-2003)
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David Attenborough's comprehensive study of how a remarkable group of animals evolved - a group that includes ourselves.

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wildlife | nature | mammal | See All (3) »

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20 November 2002 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Az emlősök élete  »

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David Attenborough - Presenter: Three and a half million years separate the individual who left these footprints in the sands of Africa from the one who left them on the moon. A mere blink in the eye of evolution. Using his burgeoning intelligence, this most successful of mammals has exploited the environment to produce food for an ever-increasing population. In spite of disasters when civilisations have over-reached themselves, that process has continued, indeed accelerated, even today. Now mankind is looking for food, not ...
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Followed by Life in Cold Blood (2008) See more »

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The definitive documentary on earth's most successful species
7 July 2003 | by (Brussels, Belgium) – See all my reviews

AS on Feb.5,'03 I sat through the last episode of The Life of Mammals on BBC1, switching off the TV, I was convinced that this had to be the most impressive documentary series on nature and life, more particularly on mammals, for the moment the most successful species on the planet. It is next to unbelievable that, after the myriads of documentaries on practically every animal, Attenborough still manages to come up with a documentary that never ceases to amaze. And this is not only because many images were first-timers. I guess it is because it focuses on animals that are closest to us, and are therefore often regarded as less 'exotic', and because this series proves us dead wrong in that respect, that this is such an amazing piece of film. But there's more:

Despite the fact that the images range from great to downright unbelievable, this is perhaps not the single feature that makes this series unique. It is the way the story is told. There's of course the never-topped David Attenborough. But, because the story loosely unfolds around the evolutionary stages in the life of mammals (beginning with the platypus), AND at the same time manages to pull it off to show you the whole of the variety of mammals around the world without losing track of the scope of each episode, you get a real glimpse of what biodiversity means. Furthermore, the series really makes the case of evolutionary theory in a crystal clear way. The in and of itself very simple principle of evolution often gets misinterpreted, e.g. when one starts to think of evolution as having a 'goal'. Since the main issue here is the power to adapt of mammals, the focus is, more than ever, on the importance of the environment as the steering force towards either many specialized species or less generalists, continuously flowing from one mode to the other.

What's more, the series really makes it clear how evolution gradually has shifted from selection on the basis of innate predispositions, to selection on the basis of the ability to learn during the lifetime, which makes a species much more able to adapt itself to environmental pressures and, in the end, enables them to overcome them. And then, at the end of the series, which focuses on the great apes and, ultimately, us humans, the whole story draws together superbly. I wondered how they would pull it of: would they preach about impending doom due to humanity's estrangement of its own nature, or would they just sing the hosanna of this marvelous little zoo we live in? Instead, Attenborough avoids these pitfalls. On the one hand he makes it clear that our behaviour and the way we treat our planet is nothing but the very natural consequence of evolutionary pressures that, for the moment, have put us on top of the pyramid, and this in a relatively short span of time. On the other hand, he does suggest that, if it were only BECAUSE we top the pyramid, we do have to take care that this environment which is responsible for who and what we are doesn't crumble under the pressure of its own success-story. Maybe it's about time that we think about constraining our own numbers?

In short, this series is a must for anyone with even a passing interest in the very nature of life in all its diversity or anyone needing arguments to convince people of the why of caring for nature. I'll buy it as soon as it 's out. And I knew that from the third episode. A classic.


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