01 Challenges of Life 生命的挑战
02 Reptiles and Amphibians 爬行动物和两栖动物
03 Mammals 哺乳动物
04 Fish 鱼
05 Birds 鸟
06 Insects 昆虫
07 Hunters and Hunted 猎手和猎物
08 Creatures of the Deep 深海生物
09 Plants 植物
10 Primates 灵长类
1. "Challenges of Life" 生命的挑战
UK broadcast 12 October 2009, 6.5 million viewers (26.4% audience share)
2. "Reptiles and Amphibians"
UK broadcast 19 October 2009, 4.6 million viewers (18.9% audience share)
本集开篇镜头是飞行摄像组从远处长焦拍摄的科莫多巨蜥，根据Attenborough的说法，这里是世界上最后一片仍由爬行动物通知的土地。虽然它们貌似原始，但这里的爬行及两栖动物依靠多样的求生手段得以茁壮的繁衍生息。委内瑞拉的卵石蟾蜍，已自由落体的方式逃脱捕食者。双嵴冠蜥，昵称耶稣蜥蜴真和传说中的耶稣一样的能在水上行走，而巴西的侏儒壁虎则轻到依仗水的表面张力即使趴着也不会划破水面。爬行动物是冷血的，它们中的一些进化出非同寻常的取暖方式。纳米布变色龙会将自己面向太阳一侧的肤色变深。一只雄性红色束带蛇，利用假的信息素冒充雌性蒙骗并吸引其他雄性为其保暖，以增加自己交配的机会。马达加斯加鬣鳞蜥把产的卵埋在地下以隐藏它们，但食蛋的猪鼻蛇还是找到了它们。 Niue Island sea kraits lay theirs in a chamber only accessible via an underwater tunnel. Other reptiles guard their eggs. Horned lizards drive off predators, but larger adversaries such as coachwhip snakes prompt a different reaction – the lizard plays dead. Komodo dragons prey on water buffalo in the dry season. They stalk a buffalo for three weeks as it slowly succumbs to a toxic bite, then strip the carcass in four hours. In Life on Location, the Komodo film crew tell of the harrowing experience of filming the dragon hunt.
UK broadcast 26 October 2009, 5.55 million viewers (21.9% audience share)
Intelligence, warm blood and strong family bonds have made mammals the most successful group of animals on the planet: they can even survive the Antarctic winter. Here, a Weddell seal leads her pup on its first swim beneath the ice. In East Africa, a rufous sengi uses a mental map of the pathways it has cleared to outwit a chasing lizard. A young aye-aye takes four years to learn how to find and extract beetle grubs, food no other mammal can reach. Reindeer move through the Arctic tundra, making the longest overland migration of any animal. Other mammals have evolved different ways of travelling long distances: ten million fruit bats congregate at Zambia's Kasanka swamps to gorge on fruiting trees. Mammals employ different strategies to find food. At night on the African savannah, hyenas force lions off a kill through sheer weight of numbers, whilst in the melting Arctic, dozens of polar bears take advantage of a bowhead whale carcass. Raising young is another important factor in mammals' success. Coatis and meerkats form social groups to share the burden of childcare. A first-time African elephant mother needs the experience of the herd's matriarch to get her young calf out of trouble. The largest animals in the ocean are also mammals. The seas around Tonga are both a nursery and mating ground for humpback whales. A female leads her potential suitors on a chase, the males battling for dominance behind her. Life on Location follows the never-before filmed humpback heat run.
UK broadcast 2 November 2009, 4.56 million viewers (18.1% audience share)
Fish, the most diverse group of vertebrate animals, thrive in the world’s rivers, lakes and oceans. Slow-motion footage reveals the behaviour of some of the fastest fish in the sea, sailfish and flying fish. The latter gather in large numbers to lay their eggs on a floating palm frond, which sinks under the weight. The eggs of weedy sea dragons, found in the shallow waters off southern Australia, are carried by the male. In the fertile seas of the western Pacific, competition is fierce. A sarcastic fringehead defends its home, an old shell, from a passing octopus and a rival. In Japan, mudskippers have carved a niche on the rich mudflats. Freshwater fish are also featured. Tiny gobies are filmed climbing Hawaiian waterfalls to colonise the placid pools upstream, while in East Africa, barbels pick clean the skin of the resident hippos and feed on their rich dung in return. Wrasses perform the cleaning duties on coral reefs, but jacks also remove parasites by scratching against the rough skin of silvertip sharks. Clownfish, whose life cycle is filmed in intimate detail using macro cameras, are protected by the fronds of an anemone, but other species seek safety in numbers. A shoal of ever-moving anchovies proves too difficult a target for sea lions. Sometimes, predators have the edge: ragged tooth sharks are shown attacking sardines trapped in shallow waters off South Africa. Life on Location looks at the efforts of underwater cameramen to capture the sailfish and flying fish sequences.
UK broadcast 9 November 2009, 4.33 million viewers (17.6% audience share)
Birds, whose feathers have made them extremely adaptable and enabled them to fly, are the subject of programme five. The courtship flight of the marvellous spatuletail hummingbird is shot at high speed to slow down its rapid wing beats. The male must rest every few seconds due to the energy needed to display his elongated tail feathers. Lammergeiers, by contrast, soar on mountain thermals with a minimum of effort. A red-billed tropicbird bringing a meal back to its chick uses aerial agility to evade the marauding magnificent frigatebirds. Some birds nest in extreme locations to avoid threats from predators. Kenya's caustic soda lakes are a perilous environment for a lesser flamingo chick, while chinstrap penguins breed on a volcanic island off the Antarctic Peninsula. In South Africa, declining fish stocks force Cape gannets to abandon their chicks to search for food, presenting great white pelicans with the chance to snatch an easy meal. Feathers can also be used for display. Male sage grouse square up to one another at their leks, courting Clark's grebes perform an elaborate ritual to reaffirm their bond and thousands of lesser flamingos move in a synchronised display. In West Papua, the small, drab Vogelkop bowerbird uses a different strategy. The male decorates his bower with colourful jewels from the forest, and uses vocal mimicry to attract the attention of a female. Mating is filmed for the first time, the end result of a long and difficult quest featured in Life on Location.
UK broadcast 16 November 2009, 3.80 million viewers (14.6% audience share)
The sixth episode enters the world of insects. By assuming a variety of body shapes and incorporating armour and wings, they have evolved diverse survival strategies and become the most abundant creatures on Earth. In Chilean Patagonia, male Darwin’s beetles lock horns and hurl their rivals from the treetops in search of a mate. A damselfly’s chance to mate and lay eggs can be cut abruptly short by a leaping frog. Monarch butterflies use their wings to power them on an epic migration to their hibernating grounds in the forests of Mexico’s Sierra Madre. Many insects carry chemical weapons as a form of defence. High-speed cameras show oogpister beetles squirting formic acid into the face of an inquisitive mongoose and bombardier beetles firing boiling caustic liquid from their abdomens. Some insects gain an advantage through co-operation. When an American black bear destroys a bee’s nest, the colony survives by carrying their honey to a new site. Japanese red bug nymphs will move to a different nest if their mother fails to provide sufficient food. In the Australian outback, male Dawson’s bees fight to the death over females emerging from their nest burrows. As a result, all will die, but the strongest mate most often. Argentina’s grasscutter ants form huge colonies five million strong. They feed on a fungus which they cultivate underground, in nest structures which have natural ventilation. Life on Location documents the Mexico crew’s attempts to rig up aerial camera shots of the awakening monarch butterflies.
7. "Hunters and Hunted"
UK broadcast 23 November 2009, 4.04 million viewers (15.9% audience share)
Mammals have adopted diverse strategies to hunt their prey and evade predators. As well as revisiting the cheetah and dolphin hunts first shown in episode one, the programme shows how a sure-footed ibex kid escapes a hunting fox by bounding across a precipitous mountainside above the Dead Sea. Slow motion footage reveals the fishing behaviour of greater bulldog bats in Belize and brown bears at an Alaskan river mouth, the latter awaiting the return of spawning salmon. The play-fighting of juvenile stoats helps train them to run down prey such as rabbits, which are many times their own size. The alpha female of an Ethiopian wolf pack stays at the den to wean her cubs while other adults hunt rats on the highland plateau. The extraordinary nasal appendage of a star-nosed mole enables it to hunt successfully underground and, by using bubbles to detect its prey, underwater. A tiger’s stealthy approach to a group of feeding chital deer is thwarted when a langur, watching from above, raises the alarm. The final sequence shows a female killer whale taking elephant seal pups from their nursery pool in the Falkland Islands. This is a risky strategy as she could easily become beached in the shallow water. She is the only killer whale known to hunt this way, but her calf shadows her moves, ensuring her knowledge will be passed on. Also close by were the film crew, who reveal how the sequence was shot for Life on Location.
8. "Creatures of the Deep"
UK broadcast 30 November 2009, 3.95 million viewers (15.6% audience share)
Marine invertebrates, the descendants of one billion years of evolutionary history, are the most abundant creatures in the ocean. In the Sea of Cortez, packs of Humboldt squid make night-time raids from the deep to co-operatively hunt sardines. Beneath the permanent Antarctic sea ice of McMurdo Sound, sea urchins, red sea stars and nemertean worms are filmed scavenging on a seal carcass. A fried egg jellyfish hunts amongst a swarm of Aurelia in the open ocean, spearing its prey with harpoon-like tentacles. In the shallows off South Australia, hundreds of thousands of spider crabs gather annually to moult. Many invertebrates have simple nervous systems, but giant cuttlefish have large brains and complex mating habits. Large males use flashing stroboscopic colours and strength to win a mate, whereas smaller rivals rely on deceit: both tactics are successful. A Pacific giant octopus sacrifices her life to tend her single clutch of eggs for six months. As a Pycnopodia starfish feeds on her remains, it comes under attack from a king crab. Coral reefs, which rival rainforests in their diversity, are the largest living structures on Earth and are created by coral polyps. Porcelain crabs, boxer crabs and orangutan crabs are shown to illustrate the many specialised ways of catching food on a reef. Marine invertebrates have a lasting legacy on land too – their shells formed the chalk and limestone deposits of Eurasia and the Americas. Life on Location documents the recording of Antarctic sea life and the birth of a reef.
UK broadcast 7 December 2009, 4.18 million viewers (18.0% audience share)
Plants endure a daily struggle for water, nutrients and light. On the forest floor where light is scare, time-lapse shots show ivies and creepers climbing into the canopy using sticky pads, hooks or coiled tendrils. Epiphytes grow directly on the topmost branches of trees. Their bare roots absorb water and trap falling leaves, which provide nutrients as they decompose. Animals can also be a source of food: the sundew traps mosquitoes with sticky fluid, and venus flytraps close their clamshell leaves on unwitting insects. Sandhill milkweed defends itself against feeding monarch caterpillars by secreting sticky latex from its leaves. The milkweed endures the onslaught because, like most plants, it produces flowers, and the newly-hatched butterflies pollinate them. After flowering, brunsvigia plants in South Africa are snapped off by strong winds, sending their seed heads cartwheeling across the ground. Saguaro cacti produce succulent fruit to attract desert animals which ingest and disperse their seeds. Some plants have adapted to survive environmental extremes. Dragon's blood trees and desert roses thrive on arid Socotra, and coastal mangrove trees survive by filtering salt from seawater. Bristlecone pines live above 3000m in North America’s mountains. They have a six-week growing season and can live for 5,000 years, making them the oldest living things on Earth. Grasses are the most successful of all plants. Of their 10,000 varieties, two cover more land than any other plant: rice and wheat. Life on Location goes behind the scenes of a time-lapse sequence in an English woodland.
UK broadcast 14 December 2009, 4.96 million viewers (21.9% audience share)
Intelligence, curiosity and complex societies have enabled primates to exploit many different habitats. In Ethiopia, male Hamadryas baboons restore discipline after a skirmish with a rival troop. In Japanese macaque society, only those members from the correct bloodlines are permitted to use thermal springs in winter; others are left out in the cold. Examples of primate communication include a silverback gorilla advertising his territory though vocalisations and chest-beating, and the piercing calls of spectral tarsiers which help keep their group together. In Thailand's rainforests, lar gibbons use song to reinforce sexual and family bonds. By contrast, ring-tailed lemurs in Madagascar broadcast sexual signals using scent glands. A young orangutan's upbringing equips it with all the skills it needs to survive in the forest, including finding food, moving through the canopy and building a shelter. On South Africa's Cape Peninsula, chacma baboons forage kelp beds exposed by the lowest tides for nutritious shark eggs and mussels. White-faced capuchins collect clams in Costa Rica's coastal mangroves, but lack the powerful jaws to pierce the shells. Their solution is to beat the shellfish against trees or rocks, which eventually relaxing a muscle which causes the shell to open. Life on Location follows camerawoman Justine Evans to Guinea to film tool use in chimpanzees. Dextrous hand movements enable them to dip for ants and termites using plant stems. They have also learned to crack nuts using precise and efficient blows with a stone. One male chimp is filmed sharing his stone with a female.