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Sir David Attenborough uncovers mysteries of nature on Animal Planet

Natural Curiosities premieres on May 10, and will air on Saturday and Sundays at 9 PM

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | May 6, 2014

Sir David Attenborough Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough has spent a lifetime documenting the natural world. He’s met a great number of nature’s most extraordinary creatures. In Animal Planet’s new series, ‘David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities’, he reveals the animals that have intrigued him the most, with each episode featuring two different animals linked together by a curiously distinctive evolutionary quirk.

Each episode has Sir David looking at two examples of animal patterns that have bedazzled and baffled science for a long time, and uses modern tools to unlock their secrets. Why do zebras and butterflies advertise themselves with bold patterns or dazzling colours? Nature has twisted the tusk of the narwhal and the shells of snails, but what is the purpose? From the emperor penguin and the wood frog, both of which survive in extreme conditions, to the rhino and the hedgehog - two animals that hide behind seemingly impenetrable armoured coats.

Starting May 10, ‘David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities’ will air Saturdays and Sundays at 9 PM and explore the stories behind natural curiosities, linked together by a common theme.

Filmed at locations throughout the United Kingdom with particular significance to Sir David, viewers are really given the chance to get to know the great man up close and realise his intrepid life of adventure.

Interesting facts from the series:

  1. A chameleon’s colour is affected not only by its surroundings but by the temperature, the light and its emotional state. Chameleons are emotional creatures.  Darker colouration signals anger.
  • The chameleons use colour change not only to camouflage themselves but also to communicate with one another. Their skin has 3 layers of expandable pigmented cells called hromatophores.  They contain red, yellow, blue and white pigments with a deeper layer of darker melanin which controls the reflection of light.
  • The chameleon’s tongue is a muscular tube that when relaxed sits on a rod of cartilage.  When the chameleon is ready to strike, muscles at the back of the tongue push it into launch position.  When the prey is lined up and the distance calculated, superfast muscles contract and propel the tongue forward at lightning speed.
  • Studies of giraffe’s anatomy reveals that its neck is supported with a long, thick ligament like a cable that runs the whole length of the neck. This counter balances the weight of

it's head and the neck and in its relaxed position it’s tight.

  • Giraffes rarely drink from the ground and get most of their water from leaves and shoots. The only way to get their mouths down to the water is to splay their forelegs or bend them at the wrist joint.  The giraffe has a relatively short neck compared to its legs.
  • Antelope and zebra can reach down to the ground without bending their legs.
    • The brightly coloured wings of butterflies aren’t created by pigments. Minute scales on the wings reflect light in different ways, reflecting blues, greens, reds and the hypnotising iridescence that most exhibit.
    • The elephant and the mole rat have extremely wrinkled starting their young lives.  This is the key to allowing elephants to live a long life.  The patterned crevices hold water which travels along them all over the body.  Wrinkly skins can retain 5 to 10 times more water than smooth ones so moisture collected during wallowing stops the skin from dehydrating and overheating for a long time afterwards
    • An Elephant’s trunk is highly sensitive with over 100,000 muscle units in it.
    • An elephant walks on five toes and the back part of its foot consists of a highly spongy heel. The raised heel can compress and expand to absorb shock and shield the other heavy bones in the body from pressure.

Sir-David-Attenborough1 Sir-David-Attenborough2

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