Ayer's Rock (Uluru), Northern Territory, Australia

Australian wildlife

Australia's unusual fauna and flora is due to the continent having been isolated for millions of years. Continental drift tore Australia away from Africa and Antarctica and sent it on a 45 million year journey northwards. The original mammal passengers on this journey were the marsupials and egg layers (the monotremes). About 15 million years ago, as Australia drifted closer to Asia, rodents floated and bats flew over the sea to become the first placental mammal colonists. The journey north combined with global cooling to dry Australia out and give rise to its characteristic drought and fire-resistant plants.

Watch video clips from past programmes (10 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.

View all 10 video clips

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.