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Charles Darwin and the tree of life.

Attenborough, David, 1926-
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About this work


Presented by David Attenborough, this programme looks at the broad spectrum of animals on our planet and how Charles Darwin attempted to explain this diversity. Attenborough traces the journey of Darwin as he wrote his theory of natural selection, illustrated with the kinds of animals and plants he encountered on the way. There is also footage of Attenborough throughout his career observing and reporting on animals across the globe. Attenborough describes Darwin's struggle with publishing his theory of natural selection, fearing the outrage of the religious, including his devout wife. However, as fellow naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace began to get closer to the same theory of natural selection, Darwin was forced to make his research public. Opposition to Darwin's theory came from Richard Owen - he and other Victorian geologists believed the history of life could be deduced from the land around them; they did not believe that animal species could change or that different species were related. Attenborough explains how the theory of natural selection won the argument and led to further theories such as those of Gregor Mendel, and eventually to the discovery of DNA.


UK : BBC 1, 2009.

Physical description

1 DVD (60 min.) : sound, color, PAL

Copyright note



Broadcast on 1 February, 2009

Creator/production credits

Written and presented by David Attenborough. Produced by The Open University, Bristol.



  • English

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