To protest a UK government policy in favor of killing badgers to reduce bovine tuberculosis, Queen guitarist Brian May has teamed up with Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash and naturalist David Attenborough to form the supergroup Artful Badger and Friends. The group released the song Badger Swagger on June 3. [more inside]
BBC Radio 4 has begun to transmit Tweet of the Day, a 90 second 5:58 A.M. weekday broadcast (also podcast!), featuring the songs of UK birds. The program is set to last for 265 episodes, and will feature a revolving door of presenters, beginning with Sir David Attenborough.
"Hundreds (maybe thousands) of spiders congregate between poles in the town of Santo Antonio de Plantina / PR." [more inside]
Five years ago this week, the BBC started broadcasting one of the most extraordinary documentaries ever to grace television: Planet Earth. The culmination of five years of field work, it employed the most cutting-edge of techniques in order to capture life in all its forms, from sweeping spaceborne vistas to shockingly intimate close-ups -- including many sights rarely glimpsed by human eyes. Visually spectacular, it showcased footage shot in 204 locations in 62 countries, thoroughly documenting every biome from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the lifegiving waters of the Okavango Delta, a rich narrative tapestry backed by a stirring orchestral score from the BBC Concert Orchestra. Unfortunately, the series underwent some editorial changes for rebroadcast overseas. But now fans outside the UK can rejoice -- all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form: uncut, in glorious 1080p HD, and with the original narration by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Click inside for the full listing (and kiss the rest of your week goodbye). [more inside]
The parasite Toxoplasma makes rats lust for cat pee and people drive motorbikes. Other behaviour-modifying parasites include Cordyceps (YouTube) and Sacculina. (Warning: Icky.)
Apes do it. Birds do it. Even educated elephants do it. But can a dog do it? Can a dog make art? Meet Tillamook Cheddar, an adorable Jack Russell Terrier who, after 19 solo shows, has made more than $100,000 in sales of paintings like these. (I believe she did not choose the titles.) Opinions on her work vary. [more inside]
Mammals | Natural History Museum. From fascinating bats to enormous whales, mammals are the most diverse group of animals on our planet. Equipped with wings, fins, horns and spines – they have evolved to fill many niches and roles. Discover more about this complex group, which of course, includes us. [more inside]
Lake Biwa: David Attenborough's Satoyama on YouTube, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6. [more inside]
Guess who's censoring references to evolution out of David Attenborough documentaries? That's right, the Dutch. See the differences; here's a detailed write-up by a Dutch biologist and documentary enthusiast comparing the two versions side-by-side (in Dutch).
Sir David Attenborough, naturalist and pioneer of the nature documentary, turned 80 last month. To mark the occasion, Britons were asked to choose their favorite Attenborough moment and of all the memorable scenes, his recording of the lyrebird came out on top. In this clip the bird mimics neighboring birds, several cameras, car alarms, and perhaps most impressively, loggers with chainsaws. (wmv, qt)