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Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life (David Attenborough)
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Weaved seamlessly throughout is natural history film footage shown of David Attenborough's many earlier television series. By using this footage, the film apply demonstrates the diversity of life and celebrates the work of perhaps the greatest natural history television series writer, director, and producer (Planet Earth, Life on Earth, and many other series).
I have used this film successfully with my high school biology classes. It provides a clear, direct, and articulate look at a 21st century, evidence based understanding of evolution and the foundational role that Darwin's work has played. This film is indeed a fitting tribute to Darwin on the 200th anniversary of his birth.
This BBC documentary, not surprisingly, is very well done. In the 60 minutes, it gives a thorough overview of the natural selection that produced all the things we see around us in the world.
My only critique is that is TOO general of an overview, and as other customers reviews stated, it would be great for a high school biology class (in fact, it would be odd NOT to use this if you're a biology teacher higher than 6th grade).
One of the many good things from this DVD: Nothing against Sigourney Weaver or Oprah Winfrey (who narrated the U.S. versions of "Planet Earth" and "Life" - respectively, but David Attenborough is much more enjoyable simply because of the knowledge with which he speaks on the various topics on his programs (I am American by the way). The U.S. versions I believe showed the exact same footage but were Americanized with the narration of two voices many more Americans are familiar with. Both versions are available on Amazon but the links for the David Attenborough/original BBC versions are here:
Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series
Life (narrated by David Attenborough)
Another surprise on this Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life DVD: the 'special features' section is almost as long as the feature itself on the DVD. It tells the detailed story of Darwin's angst against publishing "On the Origin of Species" because of his wife's devout religious beliefs, as well as upsetting the traditional Genesis beliefs of creation prevalent at the time in 1859.
"Our Earth is the only known planet that sustains life. And it does so in abundance. I have been fortunate enough over the years to travel to some of the most extraordinary and remote places on Earth to find and film animals...The sheer number and variety of animals and plants is astonishing. Estimates of the number of different species vary from six million to a hundred million...
There are often a multitude of variations on a single pattern. Nearly 200 different kinds of monkeys for example. And 315 humming birds, nearly a thousand bats. And beetles, at least 350 thousand species of them. Not to mention nearly a quarter of a million different kinds of flowering plants. The variety is astounding...
Why should there be such a dazzling variety? And how can we make sense of such a huge range of living organisms?
Two hundred years ago, a man was born who was to explain this astonishing diversity of life. In doing so he revolutionized the way in which we see the world and our place in it. His name was Charles Darwin."
The above comes from the introduction to this astonishing documentary hosted by broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough (born: 1926). This documentary was made to celebrate the 200TH anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth (in 1809) and the 150TH anniversary of his scientific masterpiece "On the Origin of Species" (first edition published in 1859 with a longer title).
This documentary has it all and explains as well as shows all basic aspects of Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Attenborough, as always presents an outstanding program. As a biologist, he is one of my heroes!Published 8 months ago by Tony F
Although I love David Attenborogh's work this is not a particularly strong story of Darwin's work. I use segments of it in a university course I teach as a segue to the other video... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Nicole M
If anyone could do justice for Darwin and his amazing life, Attenborough, a thoroughly scientifically and tirelessly adventurous mind, as Darwin, has done him proudly.Published 17 months ago by Donovan McIntire
Fair coverage of Darwin's life, but it left out the falsehoods that most Medieval Church critics said--i.e. that he was an atheist! Read morePublished on July 19, 2014 by S. Simcha Lund ben Abraham MS
He never pulls any punches but is excruciatingly lucid as well as unarguably logical and accurate. I wish all of his works were available in Blu-ray. Read morePublished on May 1, 2014 by Sandra Kramer