Race of Life
Survival of The Fittest+
There are many fine examples of evolutionary history in the natural world. Animals adapt through a series of small, random mutations and usually do so in order to compete more effectively for food, water and space. Crocodiles are certainly of an ancient lineage, they are believed to be 200 million years old. Sharks have gone through the process of adaptation and evolutionary experimentation as well. The modern descendants of ancient sharks have incorporated many of the successful traits of the past.
The Big Cats+
Sleek, dangerous, fast, and vicious. No-one runs the Race of Life faster than the Cheetah, and yet it is on the endangered species list. The Leopard is perhaps the best equipped survivor for the long run. And what of the Lion? Lions are high up on the food chain, so have almost no predators. But every Big Cat born in the wild who survives to maturity can be said a winner in the Race of Life.
The Great Desert Race+
Deserts are not easy places for animals to live. Desert animals have evolved to handle the desert's heat and lack of water. They have adapted their bodies and behaviors to the desert climate. The scorpion is one of the most ancient creatures on earth, in existence since life first crawled out of the sea. One look and you can see why they're born survivors.
The African Savannah is the stage for thousands of battles every day. How do elephants survive and even prosper on a diet that even the strictest vegetarian would pass on! This seemingly gentle giant has been revealed to have a darker side in the last few years too. They may survive on just plant life, but that doesn't mean they don't like a fight - to the death.
Males and females of most species will fight viciously in self-defense. In this episode we'll explore the Race of Life from the point of view of food, territory, social status, and mates. Though some fights occur between two different species, most battles are fought between members of the same species. Though the wildlife warriors in these battles usually are not trying to kill each other, the fighting can result in death.
Run Like The Wind+
With predators practically always on the lookout for a meal, prey must constantly avoid being eaten. Any defensive adaptation that prey can utilize adds to the chances of survival for its species. Some adaptations are defense mechanisms which can give the prey an advantage against their enemies.
The Early Bird+
Predator versus prey: in this instalment we analyze three attack-escape scenarios involving bird predators and their prey. One is the climbing flight escape, another is horizontal speeding, and thirdly, there is turning and diving to avoid capture. Predator and prey attack-escape behavior is another outcome of the evolutionary arms race.
Crocodiles, like all living reptiles, they are descended from animals that roamed the Earth about 250 million years ago. There's something so viscerally terrifying about these creatures that lay in wait for their prey, just under the waterline. Like all reptiles, snakes rely on the heat of the sun to control their body temperature.
Some have powerful strides and flashing teeth, some employ poisons and trickery, so we know for sure that predators are well equipped for survival. But this episode reveals the unique ways in which animals protect themselves. From the vice-like jaws of the hyena to the gunshot speed of the frog, and the awesome antlers of the deer. A strong defense is key to winning the race of life.
Almost all animals living in the sea are predators. Their bodies have been designed and built to capture prey and avoid becoming prey themselves. In an episode that illustrates the Race of Life in an underwater world of dangerous predators with razor-sharp teeth, we will see sharks, barracuda and moray eels go about their grisly business.
The ocean can be an unforgiving place. Animals living in the sea have to deal constantly with finding food, and protecting themselves from predators. There are many ways of hiding, defending, and feeding, and every different technique has advantages for different animals. Underwater footage shot in the wild, demonstrates vividly how ocean creatures have evolved to survive by adapting to their environment.
The Race Underfoot+
In this episode we explore the Race of Life on a small scale but no less competitive or cruel for all that. Insects burrow through the ground, hop and sing in the trees, and dart and dance in the air. They come in many different colors and shapes. There are many reasons why insects are so successful at surviving.
Finally for this series, we look deep into the darkness to examine creatures that live in the shadows and the adaptations they need to survive. Nocturnal animals have taken to this dark world for good reason: they can escape predators, avoid the heat of the day, and take their turn sharing food and resources in their 'niche'. Spend a night on an exploratory tour with porcupines, raccoons, mice, and cats as their day begins, while the rest of the world goes to sleep.