There have been some great TV shows on this week and I’d recommend watching them on BBC iPlayer over the next couple of days.
The third series of Nature’s Weirdest Events is available and showing how events in nature can sometimes be weirder than fiction. In episode 1 they show that golf is more dangerous than you think with sharks on a golf course in Australia. If you are squeamish you might want to avoid the frog that shoots bones through its skin.
In episode 2 there are trees oozing red blood and France making multi-coloured honey. Also is that the sound of aliens?
One of the funniest, informative nature shows I’ve seen was Penguin: Spy in the Huddle. Various penguincams were used to get amazing footage. This week Polar Bear: Spy on the Ice was repeated and is currently on iplayer. The spy cameras sound like robots in Robot Wars- Icebergcam, Blizzardcam, Snowballcam, Snowcam and Driftcam. This intelligent predator isn’t always fooled by the cameras with some amusing results. There are also some amazing moments captured such as cubs emerging for the first time from dens, play fighting and courtship behaviours. Tonight the next series starts and looks at dolphins showing the amazing behaviour of dolphins in the wild. The spy cameras in this series use other animals molluscs, sea turtle and squid to get up close and personal with the dolphins.
The Royal Institute Christmas lectures are always worth watching and this year they were very relevant to the GCSE and A level biology specifications. The first lecture asks where do I come from? This looks at how the complex human body develops from a single fertilised egg cell. The embryonic development of a worm in shown live while we learn all about cell division and developmental biology.
The second lecture asks Am I a Mutant? This is particularly relevant to the GCSE specification as it examines Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. The lecture explains how the amazing diversity in our planet has come about through mutation, adaptation and selection. Darwin makes a surprising guest appearance and gets to learn a few things himself! There is an explanation of the vital genes responsible for mapping out an animal’s body-plan. We also find out when a lizard is not a lizard….when it is a snake!
The last lecture asks Could I live Forever? The only certainty in life is death (and taxes). This lecture examines cell death (apoptosis) and whether it is possible for them to live forever. The programme also examines the ethics of intervening in evolution and modifying and manipulating genes. If we could live forever would we really want to?