Animal Planet’s series ‘Mutant Planet’ explores the mystery of evolution

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(03 September 2011 01:10 pm)

MUMBAI: Why is our planet filled with such a bewildering diversity of mammals, reptiles, fish, birds, insects and plants?

Animal Planet's new series, Mutant Planet, reveals how nature has shaped the eccentric animals together with the forces of nature and the magic of evolution. Mutant Planet reveals why nature allows existence of strange and bizarre animals and their patterns of behaviour to flourish through the miracle of natural selection. The series is the celebration of the power of evolution, an exploration of the forces that shape life in all in its unexpected glory.

The six-part series will air from 12- 17 September at 8 pm. The show combines traditional natural history filming with science programming. Viewers are transported to six strange worlds, where it seems as if nature has thrown the rule book out of the window. Each episode focuses on key animals in six very special regions of our planet and takes audiences on a journey of detection and discovery to understand the powerful forces that create the mysteries of evolution.

The show takes animal lovers through the fairytale archipelago with a turbulent geological past of New Zealand to the floating laboratory of Australia where the changing climate has triggered mutations in the animals. It explores Brazil’s ancient Cerrado grassland, Africa's freshwater Great lakes, Madagascar - the land of lemurs and the bizarre Islands of Japan.

This series experiences and encodes the behaviour and genetic evolution of different creatures and tries to solve the jigsaw puzzle highlighting the power of evolution driving the exceptional adaptations. These animals keep the entire ecosystem in balance. The cast of characters is diverse and none behave as expected. It is interesting to see how animals find innovative ways to overcome periods of starvation.

One episode visits New Zealand. The country is a fairytale archipelago with a turbulent geological past. A land with creatures: flightless birds, night dwellers and even living fossils. Evolution has run wild on this isolated land, producing some of the world's most unusual animals. It is home to misfits and marvels found nowhere else on the planet. Without the influence of land mammals, birds reign supreme,
dominating every habitat. The massive mountain fortresses are ruled by alpine parrots, the rugged coastline teems with bizarre seabirds, and the primeval forests are home to birds that no longer fly.

Another episode looks at Australia which is a floating laboratory whose ancient geological past and changing climate have triggered mutations in the animals here, culminating in over 200 species of bizarre pouched marsupials, which are all equipped with astounding survival features. Almost half of Australia is desert. Few animals can survive here, but one marsupial calls it home - the iconic Red
Kangaroo. This creature is a pinnacle of evolution among marsupials, equipped with an arsenal of adaptations to survive the desert. From its giant hop to its unique reproductive strategy, Australia's Red Kangaroo demonstrates the power of evolution to drive exceptional
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