BBC Natural History UnitThe annual flooding of the Nile brought the water and fertile volcanic soil that made the Ancient Egyptian civilisation possible, but impassable rapids made it impossible for them to discover the source of this bounty they attributed to the gods.
BBC 2The documentary series about the solar system examines how our understanding of the evolution of life on earth has changed, and explores the evidence for life on other planets. In 1976, two robotic probes suggested that the surface of Mars was dead. But the latest research reveals that this may not be the case and that it is possible that life on earth may have evolved from Mars.
BBCFor many years our place in the universe was the subject of theologians and philosophers, not scientists, but in 1960 one man changed all that.
BBC 4Michael Mosley takes an informative and ambitious journey exploring how the evolution of scientific understanding is intimately interwoven with society's historical path.
BBCMichael Mosley takes an informative and ambitious journey exploring how the evolution of scientific understanding is intimately interwoven with society's historical path. We now know that the brain - the organ that more than any other makes us human - is one of the wonders of the universe, and yet until the 17th century it was barely studied. The twin sciences of brain anatomy and psychology have offered different visions of who we are. Now these sciences are coming together and in the process have revealed some surprising and uncomfortable truths about what really shapes our thoughts, feelings and desires. And the search to understand how our brains work has also revealed that we are all - whether we realise it or not - carrying out science from the moment we are born.
BBCBlue Peter gardener Chris Collins celebrates the humble and sometimes hated plants we call weeds. He discovers that there is no such thing as a weed, botanically speaking, and that in fact what we call a weed has changed again and again over the last three hundred years.
Channel 4Louie Psihoyos' Oscar-winning documentary shows in chilling detail the illicit slaughter of dolphins at Taijia, a rural Japanese cove.
Channel 4The film hints at the global consequences of CCD continuing unchecked: the possibility that the crops, fruit and flowers that humanity rely will not be pollinated and will die out.
BBC 4More than anywhere, the Serengeti is synonymous with wilderness and has even come to represent Africa. But the story of the Serengeti is just as much about humans as it is about wildlife. Right from the origin of our species in Africa, humans have been profoundly shaping this unique wilderness - hunters and pastoralists with cattle and fire, ivory traders and big game hunters, conservationists, scientists, film-makers and even tourists have all played a part in shaping the Serengeti. Probably most powerful of all was a tiny microbe unknowingly brought to Africa by a small Italian expeditionary force - Rinderpest, a deadly virus that swept through the continent decimating cattle and wildlife alike and forever changing the face of the wild. The Serengeti is far from timeless, it is forever changing - and wherever there is change, the influence of Homo sapiens is not far behind.
BBC 4As the world's first national park, Yellowstone has long served as a model for the protection of wilderness around the world. For Americans it has become a source of great national pride, not least because it encapsulates all our popular notions of what a wilderness should be - vast, uninhabited, with spectacular scenery and teeming with wildlife. But Yellowstone has not always been so. At the time of its creation in 1872, it was renowned only for its extraordinary geysers, and far from being an uninhabited wilderness it was home to several American Indian tribes. This film reveals how a remote Indian homeland became the world's first great wilderness. It was the ambitions of railroad barons, not conservationists, that paved the way for a brand new vision of the wild, a vision that took native peoples out of the picture. Iconic landscape paintings show how European Romanticism crossed the Atlantic and recast the American wilderness, not as a satanic place to be tamed and cultivated, but as a place to experience the raw power of God in nature. Forged in Yellowstone, this potent new version of wilderness as untouched and deserving of protection has since been exported to all corners of the globe.
BBC 4The Amazon rainforest is the epitome of a last great wilderness under threat from modern man. It has become an international cause celebre for environmentalists as powerful agricultural and industrial interests bent on felling trees encroach ever deeper into virgin forest. But the latest evidence suggests that the Amazon is not what it seems. As more trees are felled, the story of a far less natural Amazon is revealed - enormous manmade structures, even cities, hidden for centuries under what was believed to be untouched forest. All the time archaeologists are discovering ancient, highly fertile soils that can only have been produced by sophisticated agriculture far and wide across the Amazon basin. This startling evidence sheds new light on long-dismissed accounts from the very first conquistadors of an Amazon teeming with people and threatens to turn our whole notion of wilderness on its head. And if even the Amazon turns out to be unnatural, what then for the future of wilderness?
Stephen LyleUsain Bolt is the fastest man on the planet and a sportsman like no other. But what makes him so much faster than any other man in the history of the human race?
Tim Haines, Jasper JamesAbout 20 million years before the appearance of the first dinosaurs, the biggest extinction the world had ever known had occurred. Towards the end of the Triassic, 220 million years ago, there was another extinction, which wiped out many of the non-dinosaurs including the dicynodonts such as Placerias and primitive archosaurs such as Postosuchus. It was after this that dinosaurs really started to radiate and diversify. Another extinction at the very end of the Triassic, wiped out the remaining basal archosaurs and the dinosaurs were the only large land animals left
Tim Haines, Jasper JamesThe earliest dinosaurs were pretty small. Eoraptor was only about 1 m long. However the plant-eating prosauropod, Plateosaurus, that appeared at the end of the Triassic period, was a harbinger of things to come. At up to 9 m long it was the first really big dinosaur. In the Early Jurassic the maximum size of both herbiviores and carnivores increased, and this trend continued throughout the Jurassic culminating in the staggeringly large sauropods such as Apatosaurus and Brachiosaurus
Tim Haines, Jasper JamesWhile dinosaurs were ruling on land, the sea was the dominion of an entirely different group of animals: the marine reptiles. The programme concentrates on these amazing creatures that were every bit as awesome as their counterparts on land. The main source of fossil evidence comes from a layer of sediment called the Oxford Clay. The clay stretches from the English coast at Weymouth all the way to Scarborough in Yorkshire, but the richest fossil grounds in this clay are in the vicinity of Bedford and Peterborough where the clay is dug for brick manufacture
Tim Haines, Jasper JamesThis episode is set in the early Cretaceous, a time when the world’s continents were breaking apart. It follows an enormous journey made by a giant pterosaur and many different geographical regions are covered in the programme. Our journey starts in Brazil, where there is a fertile source of pterosaur fossils called the ‘Santana formation,’and then goes north following the coast of North America. The pterosaur crosses the Atlantic, which was not the same undertaking as it would be today. Back in the early Cretaceous the Atlantic had only just started to form and at that point it was probably as little as 200 miles wide in places. The pterosaur then flies over what we now know as Europe, although back then it was part of the greater continent of ‘Eurasia’
Armand LeroiDocumentary which tells the story of evolution theory since Darwin postulated it in 1859 in 'On the Origin of Species'.
BBCBees are dying in their millions. It is an ecological crisis that threatens to bring global agriculture to a standstill. Introduced by Martha Kearney, this documentary explores the reasons behind the decline of bee colonies across the globe, investigating what
BBCChina is a vast country with an astonishingly diverse landscape. Through unprecedented access, this six-part series reveals the little-known natural treasures and secret wildlife havens of China's wildest regions.
BBCAncient, dramatic and full of bizarre animals, Australia is like no other place on earth. Wild Down Under explores the extraordinary landscapes and breathtaking array of strange and often dangerous wildlife that lives around this beautiful continent.
BBCWhat are we and where do we come from? Professor Brian Cox finds out.
BBC 4A natural history portrait of a year in Yellowstone, following the fortunes of America's wildlife icons as they face the challenges of one of the most extraordinary wildernesses on Earth.