Sorry, this episode is not currently available

David Attenborough embarks on an epic 500-million-year journey to unravel the incredible rise of the vertebrates. The evolution of animals with backbones is one of the greatest stories in natural history. To tell this story, David presents explosive new fossil evidence from China, a region he has long dreamt of exploring and the frontier of modern paleontological research. He reveals how vertebrates came to be the dominant form of animal life, and why humans are the heirs to a magnificent evolutionary heritage.

This episode reveals how mammals developed from tiny nocturnal forest dwellers to the dominant form of life on the planet following the death of the dinosaurs. David explains how the meteoric rise of mammals led to an astounding diversity of life and laid the foundations for the ascent of man.

Release date:

1 hour

Last on

Thu 6 Apr 2017 16:15


Role Contributor
PresenterDavid Attenborough
DirectorDavid Lee
Series ProducerAnthony Geffen

Featured in...

David's favourite moments from 30 years of broadcasting

David's favourite moments

From close encounters with rare creatures to poignant insight on the state of the planet.