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Life of Mammals [DVD] [2002]

 Exempt   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
Price: £20.87 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Life of Mammals [DVD] [2002] + The Life of Birds (Repackaged) [DVD] + Life in Cold Blood (Repackaged) [DVD]
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Product details

  • Format: Box set, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 7 April 2003
  • Run Time: 500 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000088DSM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,316 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

All ten episodes from David Attenborough's series looking at the most diverse group of animals ever to inhabit the Earth. 'A Winning Design' highlights the differences between mammals, reptiles and birds. 'Insect Hunters' focuses on mammals who have specifically adapted to eating insects. 'Plant Predators' examines how herbivores have adapted, while 'Chisellers' concerns those mammals who feed primarily on roots and seeds. 'Meat Eaters' follows the eternal race between predators and prey, and how both individual and pack hunters have adapted. 'Opportunists' examines the way that mammals with variable diets are able to adapt to new environments. 'Return to the Water' looks at seals, dolphins, porpoises and whales. 'Life in the Trees' explores the world of tree-dwelling mammals. 'Social Climbers' concerns the complexities of monkey social life. Finally, 'Food for Thought' looks at what happened when mammals developed the capability to walk upright.


David Attenborough and the BBC have a well-earned reputation for producing some of the greatest nature programmes, but The Life of Mammals could well be Attenborough's magnum opus. Much of the footage shot for this series had never been seen before, and is presented with the respect and reverence for the natural world that Attenborough has made his trademark. It never ceases to surprise: the sight of a lion taking down a wildebeest on the African savannah has almost become a cliché of nature programmes, yet in The Life of Mammals the cameras keep rolling and the viewer witnesses the fallen animal's herd coming to its rescue and driving off the lion. It's a moving sight and just one of many remarkable scenes.

A thorough and entertaining overview of one of evolution's greatest success stories, the series is loosely structured to follow the development of mammals, beginning with the basics in "A Winning Design", which clarifies what makes a mammal different from reptiles and birds--no, it isn't egg-laying: both the platypus and the echidna are egg-laying mammals; it's their ability to adapt. And it's this adaptability that becomes the crux of the remainder of the series. "Insect Hunters" focuses on mammals who have specifically adapted to eating insects, from the giant anteater and the armoured armadillo to bats, which have evolved into complex and effective hunters. "Plant Predators" demonstrates the particular (and often peculiar) adaptations of herbivores, while "Chisellers" is about those mammals who feed primarily on roots and seeds, ranging from tree-dwelling squirrels to opportunistic mice and rats. "Meat Eaters" talks about the evolutionary arms race that exists between predators and prey, and the unique adaptations of both individual and pack hunters. Omnivores are explored in "Opportunists"--mammals like bears and raccoons, whose varied diet allows them to occupy nearly any environment. "Return to the Water" discusses those mammals such as whales, seals and dolphins that have left behind life on dry land and adapted completely to life in the sea, existing at the top of the food chain. The last three episodes--"Life in the Trees", "Social Climbers" and "Food for Thought"--take the viewer through the development of primates, eventually culminating in that most successful mammal: man. --Robert Burrow

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The master at work 7 April 2003
..And he-arr, deep in the bowels of the Amazon DVD forest, comes a remarkable DVD set. Bursting with beautiful photography, good science, the accessible (but not patronising) style of Sir David Attenborough, opens up the world of mammals to the masses. Arriving on four DVDs, which contain all ten episodes plus extras (which are thoughtfully placed at appropriate points through the series rather than on a seperate disc) we learn about the varied and wonderful creatures to which we are related. How they live, how they feed, breed, and die... from the majestic lions on the plains of the Serengeti, to the polar icecaps, and the baboons in the Amazon rainforest, are all presented in exceptional detail & with Attenborough's infectious enthusiasm for the subject matter.

Many mammals are nocturnal by nature, so for the first time many animals are caught on film through the use of infra-red cameras... watching a pride of lionness' hunt by night is a staggering experience and will give your subwoofer a workout, not to mention chill the blood! There are also close encounters with numerous types of dolphins, the rare blue whale, monkeys & bats of all various kinds, and so on. Truly something for everyone here.

Can't recommend this series highly enough. Another great from the undisputed king of nature programmes, you'll want to watch this again and again.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Viewing 2 Mar 2004
Will there ever be a better presenter of documentaries about the natural world than David Attenborough? For decades now we have been lulled into learning about nature by a man who manages to convey his unique passion for all things alive with a panache that cannot be matched. This is the man who could have been running the BBC, but decided instead to remain an employee and continue producing documentaries. Life of Mammals may well be his best work yet.
The series begins with "A Winning Design", which distinguishes mammals from other living organisms. This episode follows marsupials, and hence spends most of its time in Australia. There is some wonderful footage of the duck-billed platypus, perhaps the most bizzare mammal alive today. From here, the next three episodes deal with small herbivores as David charts the development of mammals by examining animals of greater and greater evolutionary complexity. Spectacular later episodes include "Meat Eaters", in which large cats and dogs are compared, and "Life in the Trees", in which David is hoisted to the top of the rainforest canopy to observe the astounding gibbons, who move from branch to branch with breathtaking speed and agility. There is also the amazing "Return to the Water". David stands inside a life-size computer-generated blue whale, and states that the ancestors of these giants were "deer-like creatures" - a fact that surprised me! The last two episodes then examine man's pre-cursors in social monkeys, baboons and finally man himself.
This series, along with the Blue Planet, must rank alongside David's finest work. Fortunately, he shows no signs of slowing down, although one can only wonder if there is any creature he has not yet filmed, or if he could add to what he has produced here.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for kids too! 15 Jun 2005
With three boys ages 3,5 & 7, DVD requests were always Bob the Builder, Thomas, Tweenies, etc. No longer! David Attenborough has the rare talent of capturing the attention of adults and young children alike. This series is excellently presented, beautifully shot and thoroughly enjoyable. If you would rather your children learnt something when watching the box, then this is the DVD for you.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece 25 Mar 2006
It's an often overused word, especially in relation to David Attenborough, but this series is truly a demonstration of Genius. Yes, with a capital G.
Since I can remember, David Attenborough has been involved in some truly awe-inspiring projects - The Natural World, Living Planet, Life in the Freezer, etc etc. What unites the various programmes is the obvious dedication and love of the subject matter from all involved.
Beautifully shot, edited and narrated, The Life of Mammals is an epic study of some fascinating wildlife. Starting with the Platypus, surely the oddest of all mammals, and moving gracefully and majestically through countless other species, the series ends with a fascinating treatment on Humans themselves.
Attenborough's chosen subdivisions of the group makes the large volume of material easier to digest - Chisellers, Meat Eaters, Water Dwellers, Opportunists, Tree Dwellers, Insect Hunters - they're all equally interesting, endearing and lovable.
As with any Attenborough project, there's a fair share of groundbreaking technology used to give a new insight into the natural world. Luckily this new technology is used sparingly, and with obvious benefit where it is.
There's rarely a dull moment's viewing in this series, or in any other Attenborough - BBC collaboration. Lovers of nature documentaries will not be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done BBC and the Mammals 13 Mar 2008
David Attenborough introduces the mammals effortlessly and very well. He seems to be happy in each location and aware that the efforts of the team will result in brilliant television when broadcast. I think the programmes flow from one to the next better than other LIFE series because I didn't feel let down by a weaker episode. I'm not sure whether to thank the BBC or the Class that is the mammals for this. Cats Dogs Rodents Marsupials Anteaters Omnivores Primates Seals&Whales entertain and fascinate, but even so this could have flopped were it not for the world masters at work on sound visuals and editing. Credit to David Attenborough for dividing the mammals by DIET, this allows creative titles such as 'the Chisellers' the 'the Insect hunters', making it easy to empathise with the creatures and understand the trajectory of each programme.

Special features are 3 brief high quality programmes introducing the viewer to BBC crew behind the cameras. Fact files on Disc 3 have more facts than I expected, good detail. The music (mainly orchestral) does not intrude too much and prevent the combination of good dialogue&visuals&sounds which are the trio that make a good documentary. Probably the best television/film I have ever seen including anything from Hollywood and Europe. 5 superbright stars.
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