The Shape Of Life – Ultimate Animal (PBS HD Documentary)
It’s easy to believe that animals like us, creatures with heads, eyes, and brains, are the crowning achievement of evolution. But are we really? Echinoderms like sea stars, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers have no head, eyes, or centralized brains, yet they have proven themselves worthy competitors. In fact, they can live in places inaccessible to many other animals. Scientists and now filmmakers have managed to bring these animals to vibrant life all through the use of time-lapse photography. When sped up, these animals spring into action competing for dominance, fighting for food, hunting down prey just like lions on the Serengeti.
Echinoderms evolved like no other animals on Earth. Most animals evolved bilateral bodies equipped with a head, central nervous system and brain. But echinoderms opted for a different path. They adopted a five-part symmetry with no head to lead the way. Their bodies seem little more than a skeleton made of tiny little plates and water. They don’t use large muscles working on large body parts like other animals. Instead they move on hundreds of tiny, water-filled tube feet operated by a hydraulic system that doesn’t produce high-speed movement. Most move so slowly that, by our standards, they appear to be nearly stationary. A revolutionary eight-part television series that reveals the dramatic rise of the animal kingdom through the breakthroughs of scientific discovery. The Shape of Life tells the gripping and magnificent tale of the beginnings of all animal life. Using innovative camera techniques to capture rarely seen creatures and breathtaking computer animation to reveal stunning detail, this digital high-definition series tells the stories of the revolutionary findings and scientific breakthroughs in biology, genetics and paleontology that are rewriting the book of life. The series celebrates the splendors and struggles of evolution, unveiling eight biological designs that are the underpinnings of nearly all animal life.
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