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  • Hotel Heliconia – Phil Savoie (2001)

    Hotel Heliconia – Phil Savoie (2001)

    Filmed on location by Philip Savoie and his filming crew at La Selva Biological Field Station in Costa Rica, this documentary provides a great crossection of life weaved around the Heliconia (Heliconiaceae) plant. Plants provide an effective template to convey many interrelated natural history observations. However they rarely become center of attention in wildlife documentaries (but see Plants R Cool 2!). Unlike documentaries jumping from one continent to the other following a global theme, Hotel Heliconia follows a very detailed […]

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  • Planet Earth – Jungles – BBC (2006)

    Planet Earth – Jungles – BBC (2006)

    Jungles is the 8th episode of the BBC TV series Planet Earth. It makes a rapid tour around the tropical belt and highlights a few key phenomena and spectacular behavior including mating dance of bird of paradise, forest regeneration after a treefall, plant-animal interactions in the forest canopy, fig trees as a keystone species, primate territoriality, forest sounds, mating leaf frogs, water cycle through evapotranspiration, nutrient cycle through decomposition, food webs, parental care in insects, fungal parasitism, gliding calugos, carnivorous […]

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  • Bowerbird’s Grand Performance – Life Story – BBC

    Bowerbird’s Grand Performance – Life Story – BBC

    With its retina punishing feather colors this is a spectacular solo mating dance performed by a male bowerbird advertising his male qualities. The independent dilation and contraction of the pupils is a striking part of the choreography at the beginning of the performance. In Humans male brains perceive dilated eyes as a signal for sexual readiness of females. Seeing the exaggerated form here should make us curious about our “inner reptile” since birds and mammals have evolved from independent reptilian […]

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  • Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur – BBC (2016)

    Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur – BBC (2016)

    On February 19th 2016, a replica of the massive Titanosaurus dinosaur discovered in Argentinian Patagonia was unveiled at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. It is continuing to send strong waves of excitement to all natural history enthusiasts worldwide. Based on accurate dating of the volcanic ash surrounding the fossil we now know that the animal lived 100.6 million years ago during the Cretaceous. It belongs to the Sauropod group and yet is the largest ever found. […]

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  • Planet Ant – Life Inside the Colony BBC (2012)

    Planet Ant – Life Inside the Colony BBC (2012)

    Self-organization skills of ants are impressive. How do they achieve such large-scale project management? Without central control individual behavior of each worker ant contributes to the collective emergent behavior. Once they discover a resource they are extremely efficient in utilizing it. We have a lot to learn from them. This documentary is quite unique in its approach. It documents an entire leafcutter ant colony (Atta cephalotes) re-organize itself from scratch in an artificial nest purposefully built to observe colony-scale behavior […]

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  • The Antikythera Mechanism: The Two-Thousand-Year-Old Computer – Mike Beckham (2012)

    The Antikythera Mechanism: The Two-Thousand-Year-Old Computer – Mike Beckham (2012)

    Antikythera Mechanism is one of the best demonstrations of human intellect attempting to understand nature systematically. The contraption is most certainly a very complex device. It is an impressively accurate “analog model” of our then earth-centric universe. Science gives us prediction power and Antikythera Mechanism is an excellent example for how astronomical observations can be defined mathematically to reconcile lunar and solar calendars and predict eclipses with hourly accuracy using 27 gear pieces. It uses the Metonic Cyle first implemented […]

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  • Wallace in Borneo – Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero – BBC (2013)

    Wallace in Borneo – Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero – BBC (2013)

    The theory of evolution was co-discovered independently by two biologists that lived within the same time period. Darwin and Wallace were well known in their time but Wallace’s name gradually has been overshadowed by Darwin. Today we rarely (almost never) hear the name Alfred Russell Wallace. In the past there have been a few documentaries making a rare attempt to focus on the biography of this very influential biologist including an episode in Jacob Bronowski’s 1973 The Ascent of Man […]

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  • The Ladder of Creation – Jacob Bronowski – BBC (1973)

    The Ladder of Creation – Jacob Bronowski – BBC (1973)

    The theory of evolution was co-discovered independently by two biologists that lived within the same time period. Darwin and Wallace were well known in their time but Wallace’s name gradually has been overshadowed by Darwin. Today we rarely (almost never) hear the name Alfred Russell Wallace. In this documentary Jacob Bronowski makes a rare attempt to focus on the biography of this very influential scientist. He tells Wallace’s story beginning from the early years of his childhood. We see a […]

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  • The Hidden Life of the Cell – BBC (2012)

    The Hidden Life of the Cell – BBC (2012)

    Ebola virus is threatening to spread out of Africa. Zika virus is evolving and circulating in more than 50 countries. At this stage we must inform ourselves and others about viruses. The Hidden Life of the Cell does just that by illustrating a real scenario of adenovirus infection and while doing that introduces major cellular components. The documentary is quite successful in explaining the biology behind events. However, you might also want to see Inner Life of Cell and the […]

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  • First Life with David Attenborough – Arrival BBC (2010)

    First Life with David Attenborough – Arrival BBC (2010)

    BBC’s First Life is a marvelous encapsulation of life’s evolution in two episodes. Episode one “Arrival” covers major events until the Cambrian Explosion. If you are here because you want to know about the origins of life you may be slightly frustrated. The episode will briefly mention underwater hydrothermal vents as possible locations that life may have started and will mention about stromatolites which appeared in geological history around 3.5 billion years ago and that’s it. It will not talk […]

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  • Harvest of the Seasons – Jacob Bronowski (1973)

    Harvest of the Seasons – Jacob Bronowski (1973)

    Harvest of the Seasons is the second episode of a thirteen-part documentary series called The Ascent of Man written and presented by Jacob Bronowski. The series reached wide audiences for Bronowski’s highly intellectual but simple and convincing analysis. Much of his long monologues were unscripted and were a source of inspiration for creating a template for Carl Sagan’s hugely sucessful Cosmos series. The motto used by Bronowski “A personal view” became “A personal voyage” in Sagan’s. The episode provides an […]

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  • Nice Guys Finish First – Richard Dawkins (1987)

    Nice Guys Finish First – Richard Dawkins (1987)

    In this BBC documentary Richard Dawkins explores the evolution of cooperation. The problem has been discussed intensely since Darwin’s time and is still being investigated scientifically. Cooperative species are quite successful but rare. Social insects (ants, wasps, bees and termites) make up only 3 percent of animal diversity yet they may constitute up to 50 percent of the total animal biomass in land habitats. Among 43,678 known species of spiders cooperative behavior evolved in only a few. How could a […]

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  • Empire of the Desert Ants – BBC (2011)

    Empire of the Desert Ants – BBC (2011)

    BBC Wildlife Division’s Natural World series tells the natural history of the honeypot ant (Myrmecocystus mimicus) in the Arizona desert. This is the first footage to show honeypot ant queens co-operating in the wild. Filmmakers spent 150 days in the deserts of Arizona, US to capture the behavior of the ants. Filming the foundation of a new colony was a considerable challenge because the insects rarely ventured above ground. The team was fortunate enough to witness a mating swarm that […]

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