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Coming of Age In The Anthropocene
At 11 o'clock on New Year's Eve of the Cosmic Calendar, Homo erectus stood up for the first time, freeing its hands and earning the species its name. They began to move around, to explore, daring to risk everything to get to unknown places. Our Neanderthal relatives lived much as we did and did many of the things we consider to be 'human.' More restless than their cousins the Neanderthals and Denisovans, our Homo sapiens ancestors crossed seas and unforgiving landscapes, changing the land, ocean and atmosphere, leading to mass extinction. The scientific community gave our age a new name, 'Anthropocene.'
Since the first civilizations we've wondered if there's something about human nature that contains the seeds of our destruction. Syukuro Manabe was born in rural Japan and took an intense interest in Earth's average global temperature. In the 1960's, he would assemble the evidence he needed to predict the increase of Earth's temperature due to greenhouse gases until it becomes an uninhabitable and toxic environment, leading to our extinction. 'This doesn't have to be,' says Neil deGrasse Tyson, 'it's not too late. There's another hallway, another future we can still have; we'll find a way.'
Cosmos: Possible Worlds
2019 Nature HD
Immense shoals of fish throng our shallow seas. Small fish, in turn, sustain bigger ones. The rich coastal seas are the fishing grounds of our planet and can provide an abundance of food for wildlife and humanity. The seas fringing land make up less than a tenth of the world's oceans but 90 percent of marine creatures live in coastal waters, from fearsome sharks to lowly urchins. Protecting these habitats is a battle humanity must win.
A rain forest is the richest habitat on Earth. Exactly how many species rain forests contain is unknown, but it runs into millions. And new ones are discovered every week. There are some, like the clouded leopard, we still know virtually nothing about. Although they cover just seven percent of the world's land area, jungles play a vital role in the health of the planet .
Jungles and rainforests are home to an incredible variety of species like preening birds, intelligent orangutans and remarkably ambitious ants.
2019 Nature HD
The polar regions of our planet may seem beyond the reach of most of us, but they are not beyond our influence. We, unintentionally, are changing these frozen worlds, and these changes will not just affect the poles but the whole planet. On the unforgiving frontier of climate change, polar bears, walruses, seals and penguins find their icy Edens in peril.
From Deserts to Grasslands
2019 Nature HD
A fifth of the land on our planet is covered by desert. Deserts may appear to be barren and empty, but they are of crucial importance to life. For those that can overcome their challenges they provide a vital refuge. The Grasslands are one of our planet's most productive landscapes. They support the greatest aggregations of large animals on Earth. Cameras follow desert elephants seeking sustenance, bison roaming North American grasslands and caterpillars living the good life underground.
Breakthrough: The Ideas That Changed the World
Planet Earth II
In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great
Conquest of the Skies
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