The Life of Mammals

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The Life of Mammals is a nature documentary TV series that describes the evolution and development of one of Earth's most successful group of animals, the mammal group. Each episode analyzed a group of closely related animals and described their evolutionary history, pattern, and their current existence on our planet.

BBC Earth
1 Season, 10 Episodes
November 20, 2002
Cast: David Attenborough
The Life of Mammals

The Life of Mammals Full Episode Guide

  • David Attenborough continues his documentary series. He looks at monkeys from all over the world, including red howler monkeys in Venezuela, capuchin monkeys in the Costa Rican swamps, and guenon monkeys in West Africa.

  • Climbing is just the start - the challenge is to move between trees. To get close to the creatures, David Attenborough must climb into the canopy. His subjects range from the squirrels to lemurs, the latter able to leap 15 metres. More unfamiliar animals, including the Indian slender ioris and the fossa, Madagascar's largest arboreal predator, are filmed for the first time in the wild.

  • David Attenborough discovers that while mammals such as manatees and sea otters left dry millions of years ago, the blue whale has always had its home in the sea. And though some marine mammals such as seals and sea lions still come ashore to breed, many conduct their mating rituals in the water.

  • Omnivorous mammals run the gamut from human beings to rats and, though they are generalists with their diet, each is equipped with very specialised skills. In the sixth part of his ten-part series, David Attenborough witnesses the feeding secrets of the North American raccoon, the babirusa pig in Africa and skunks in Texas, and shows how they perform astonishing feats to stay alive.

  • From artic foxes and leopards to the Siberian tiger, carnivores feature in the fifth of David Attenborough's epic ten-part series. Travelling down from the frozen north into India, Attenborough learns of the dangers they pose to other animals - and the threat they face from man.

  • Rodents are the most numerous mammals on the planet, comprising an incredibly diverse variety of species. They range from the naked mole rat, which spends its entire life below ground, to the world's largest rodent, the capybara, which grazes in herds across the vast grasslands of South America. In the fourth of his ten-part epic series David Attenborough shares his fascination with these animals, which stop only at his pet hate - rats.

  • Heavily armoured, indigestible and even poisonous, plants pose problems for some of our biggest predators. David Attenborough learns why eating plants is one of the greatest challenges for the planet's mammals.

  • Mammals that hunt insects shared the planet with the dinosaurs, but when the giant reptiles disappeared, these creatures seized their chance to conquer new territory. David Attenborough meets strange bats, dim-witted anteaters, less familiar pangolins, moles that swim through sand and the garden hedgehog in the second part of his new series.

  • First in a ten-part epic series in which David Attenborough explores why mammals, including humans, are the most successful and diverse animals on the planet. His journey begins in Australia where he encounters the bizarre egg-laying platypus and the country's many marsupials - mammals like the possum, kangaroo and wombat that protect their young in a pouch.