Darwin's Bark Spider (01:59)
Darwin's Bark Spiders spiders create the largest webs on Earth over the rivers and ponds in Madagascar.
Unique Corner of Planet Earth (02:08)
Catch a glimpse of some of the species found in the rainforests of Madagascar. This program will explore the simple set of natural laws that makes such biodiversity possible.
Web of Life: Carbon Atom Bonds (05:06)
Lion conservationist Colin MacRae discusses lion physiology. Myosin and actin provide speed, opsin allows low light vision, and keratin provides claw strength.
Conditions that Make Life Possible (03:25)
In the Karoo Desert, scientists use the South African Large Telescope (SALT) to observe star formations. Dr. Brent Miszalki explains the Bird Galaxy discusses the conditions for star life.
How Life Finds Carbon (02:13)
Every morning, trees and plants begin photosynthesis. Most carbon is locked in cellulose and lignin. Carbon enters the world through trees, plants, and algae.
Following Carbon (04:10)
Termites are the most effective carbon harvesters on the African Savanna. Dr. Wilhelm De Beer explains their strategy for accessing carbon in dead wood; see the fungus garden inside a termite mound.
Following Carbon: Ruminants (01:54)
Giraffes eat cellulose primarily from the top of Acacia trees. Learn how their digestive system breaks down cellulose bonds
Following Carbon: Top of the Food Chain (02:02)
Lion success is largely related to the way they consume carbon. Carbon has a unique chemistry and is able to form endless living forms.
Last Universal Common Ancestor (02:05)
About 3.5 billion years ago, single celled organisms held the chemistry shared by all living things on Earth. DNA is a direct link that stretches back to LUCA.
Genetic Reproduction (03:51)
Indian Stick insects are a direct descendant of LUCA. Entomologist Mike Picker explains how they pass on their DNA through four nucleotides; DNA can self-reproduce.
Varied DNA (02:16)
The Vinegar fly is a main contributor of knowledge about the link between altered DNA and altered animal appearance. An experiment in the 1920s revealed that radiation changes DNA.
Forces for Change (03:26)
Life on Earth is constantly exposed to radiation; the driving force of mutations. Madagascar broke from Gondwana 750 million years ago; Lemurs arrived on Madagascar 60 million years ago.
Mitsinjo Reserve (03:25)
Indris are the largest of Madagascar's 90 lemur species. Joseph Randriantoandro has an amazing bond with the Indri. Experts question how so many lemur species developed.
Lemurs & Natural Selection (04:39)
The Aye Aye reveals how varied lemurs have become. Geneticist Ed Louis and his team track and examine the Aye Aye. Louis discusses Aye Aye behavior and its genetic evolution.
Niches within Niches (04:42)
Geological time and isolation contribute to natural selection and DNA variations. Entomologist Bonnie Blaimer studies Crematogaster ants; she discovered a new beetle inside the ant nests.
Evolution by natural selection provides the variety of species on our planet. An expert considers evolution's role in the cosmos.
Credits: Endless Forms Most Beautiful: Wonders of Life (00:45)
Credits: Endless Forms Most Beautiful: Wonders of Life
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