The Resource The life of mammals : Life in the Trees, narrated by David Attenborough

The life of mammals : Life in the Trees, narrated by David Attenborough

The life of mammals : Life in the Trees
The life of mammals
Title remainder
Life in the Trees
Statement of responsibility
narrated by David Attenborough
An emergent tree in a tropical forest can grow to over forty metres high.The first branch may be twenty metres from the ground. A slip from this height would almost certainly be fatal.To make matters worse, branches may break without warning, or the tree may blow over. But, though life may seem precarious here, for those mammals which have made this three dimensional world their home the rewards are great; trees provide food, security from ground living predators and a refuge from the elements. To reap these benefits, however, some very specialised adaptations are needed. Rock hyrax are not your typical tree dweller.They look more like ground hugging guinea pigs than accomplished climbers but, surprisingly, they are well adapted to walking around the low level branches of the acacia trees on which they feed.The soles of their feet are moist and rubbery creating a slight suction which allows the hyrax to almost stick to the branches. But this adaptation would not be sufficient to negotiate much taller trees {u2013} for that, tree dwelling mammals have evolved other more unique adaptations. Clearly a good grip is a basic requirement for moving around at height {u2013} sloths and slender lorises may have very different looking mechanisms for gripping (claws on one, fingers and thumbs on the other) but both can grip tightly with all four limbs. If, however, you require both your hands for feeding, like the tamandua, another adaptation is necessary {u2013} a prehensile tail.This gripping tail allows the termite eating tamandua to hang on while keeping its front limbs free for breaking into the hard mounds of its prey. Some tree dwelling mammals spend little time actually hanging on to branches. A grey squirrel{u2019}s agility is legendary {u2013} their light body, balancing tail and sharp claws allows them to move around the tree tops at an astonishing speed. But evolution hasn{u2019}t stop there. Flying squirrels don{u2019}t just leap they glide {u2013} as much as 90 metres. Fruit bats, or flying foxes let go of the trees all together.They, along with their insectivorous cousins, are the only group of mammals to have developed true flight. For the flying foxes, this ability has enabled them to travel large distances looking for fruiting trees. Across the globe, mammals have evolved to exploit every conceivable type of forest. In one special place {u2013} the island of Madagascar {u2013} an ancestral tree dweller diversified into an astonishing range of species. Lemurs have now filled almost every niche {u2013} the sifaka is perhaps the most spectacular, leaping as much as fifteen metres between branches. But the lemurs don{u2019}t have the trees all to themselves. Living alongside them is the predatory fossa {u2013} a sort of giant mongoose {u2013} which can match any lemur for agility
Cataloging source
Credits note
Series producer Mike Salisbury
Date time place
Originally produced by BBCActive in 2002
The life of mammals : Life in the Trees, narrated by David Attenborough
Antecedent source
  • net
Carrier category
online resource
Carrier MARC source
Configuration of playback channels
Content category
two-dimensional moving image
Content type MARC source
Control code
1 online resource (streaming video file) (50 min.)
File format
Level of compression
Media category
  • computer
  • video
Media MARC source
  • rdamedia
  • rdamedia
Media type code
Medium for sound
Other physical details
digital, stereo., sound, color
Publisher number
Quality assurance targets
not applicable
Reformatting quality
Sound on medium or separate
sound on medium
Specific material designation
  • other
  • remote
System control number
System details
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Video recording format

Library Locations

    • Deakin University Library - Geelong Waurn Ponds CampusBorrow it
      75 Pigdons Road, Waurn Ponds, Victoria, 3216, AU
      -38.195656 144.304955
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