BBC

Showing 64 posts tagged BBC

Watch young David Attenborough try to piece together a massive broken egg shell (given to him by locals) in this 1961 clip from Zoo Quest to Madagascar: The Elephant Bird Egg.

The Elephant Bird was a large, ostrich or emu-like, flightless bird that lived on the island of Madagascar until its extinction, likely in the 17th or 18th century. How tall was it? From Wikipedia

Aepyornis, believed to have been more than 3 m (10 ft) tall and weighing close to 400 kg (880 lb), was at the time the world’s largest bird. Remains of Aepyornis adults and eggs have been found; in some cases the eggs have a circumference of more than 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and a length up to 34 cm (13 in). The egg volume is about 160 times greater than that of a chicken egg.

Below, Sir David visits the Elephant Bird’s skeleton in a museum in the capital city of Antananarivo:

In the archives, Madagascar’s Giraffe Weevilweaver birds weaving and dancing Clark’s Grebes.

From the BBC’s Ocean Giants documentary, watch this incredible clip to hear the extraordinary and mysterious song of the Humpback Whale. Why do they sing (or hum)? Does it serve a purpose? Are they making music for pleasure? Are they talking?

If this clip disappears, you can find the entire documentary on Amazon. And in the archives: watch more whale videos, including a surprise diving encounter with a Humpback Whalethis huge baby Sperm Whale, and Whale Fall (After Life of a Whale).

How are police horses chosen to become the highly trained and trusted steeds that they are? Via BBC Earth, watch the police horse testing and training process as conducted by the San Francisco mounted police unit, where only 10% of the horses that begin the program are found to be right for the job.

Videos in the archives: horseback riding in Yosemite, Mongolian horsemen herding wild horses, and the amazing War Horse puppet with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

In the mountains of Ethiopia, the BBC’s Steve Backshall and his Deadly 60 team track a group of graminivorous (grass-eating) gelada baboons to observe their amazing, lion-sized, canine teeth, which are central to the primates’ social communications. From Mary Bates at Wired’s Zoologic blog

The gum-bearing yawn was most common with males, especially high-ranking ones. This kind of yawn exposed the gelada’s impressive canine teeth, which stood out against the reddish-pink color of their gums and the inside of their mouths. It was often accompanied by a loud call, and the researchers believe the yawn functions as a long-distance display. Males used this yawn during periods of tension, such as the time right before feeding, suggesting it may serve to intimidate other geladas.

The other two less intense types of yawns were seen most in females during friendly interactions. The researchers found these yawns to be more contagious, and observed females mirroring the intensity of other females’ yawns. They believe these yawns are part of a complex communication system between geladas that often engage in friendly interactions. The contagiousness of the yawns in these contexts suggests the behavior might play a role in synchronizing the activity between two geladas, strengthening the emotional connection between them,  or signaling the quality of their relationship.

Gelada males and females might use yawns differently, but all three types of yawn contribute to the smooth workings of gelada society; they function to let everyone know who’s in charge and which geladas are friends.

In the archives: more BBC, more primatesmore yawns, and some teeth.