David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies 3D
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very latecomers to the skies,
that we're now pretty good at it,
the natural world, with the help of
several million years of evolution,
are far beyond ours.
The story of how animals managed
to colonise the air is truly astonishing.
First into the skies were insects.
They initially had two pairs of wings
which in due course,
were modified in many different ways.
But after having had the skies to
themselves for about 100 million years,
a new group of animals took to the air:
Vertebrates, creatures with backbones.
They faced a different challenge,
for their bodies
were much bigger and heavier.
But eventually they evolved
several ways of solving that problem.
We will travel the globe
to trace the details
of the extraordinary skills,
of the backbone flyers.
This is Borneo.
And here there are still
great tracts of pristine rainforest,
forest that is wonderfully rich
in animals of all kinds.
I am being winched-up
into one of the tallest trees here,
in search of a creature
that can give us a hint,
of how backboned animals
first took to the air.
Hidden among these leaves, of this fern,
high up here, in the canopy,
is a very remarkable, little frog.
It's a Harlequin Tree Frog,
and it's a very, very good climber.
It spends most of its life up here,
clambering around in the branches.
Here it's away from
the numerous predators there are
down on the forest floor.
But if in fact, a predator
were able to get up here, to hunt it,
a snake perhaps, well the Tree Frog
has a remarkable trick for defence:
It has membranes between
greatly elongated toes,
so that each foot becomes a parachute
which slows the frog's descent,
and so enables it to make
a relatively safe landing.
The vertebrates made their first foreys
into the air around 260 million years ago,
and it's very likely that some
of these pioneers used skinny membranes
to control their falls, in much the
same way as this little frog does.
It has to be said, that it's not
a very good aerial navigator,
it seems as though it just jumps
and hopes for the best.
But there are animals up here,
that glide around from tree to tree,
which are very good navigators indeed,
so good in fact, that they can go
from one tree to another,
and never go down to the ground
One of them is
Each male has his own little territory
in the branches,
and warn off rivals,
by flashing his dewlap.
of skin from his flanks,
that when fully extended,
do more or less the same thing.
But there are predators
among the branches.
Snakes also live up here,
and they hunt lizards.
But Draco's side flaps
He uses them to glide, by hidging forward
And he is so skilled in the air,
that he can steer and land
on the trunk of his choice.
So, if you live up in the branches,
it's less laborious,
and indeed safer, to travel by air,
than to come down to the ground.
But if you want to be a true flyer,
you have to be able to fly
not only downwards but upwards,
you have to have powered flight.
This is another reptile,
and one with even
greater flying abilities
than that little gliding lizard.
Today, sadly, it's extinct.
This is Dimorphodon.
We can deduce from its fossils
that it had the muscles
needed to beat its wings,Rate this script:0.0 / 0 votes
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"David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies 3D" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 25 Mar. 2023. <https://www.scripts.com/script/david_attenborough's_conquest_of_the_skies_3d_5878>.
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