From the creation of the highest mountains to the opening of a flower’s petals, time controls the world around us. To understand this super-powerful force on Earth, we must wrench control of time ourselves – compressing, expanding, stopping and dissecting it, to reveal how the passing of time shapes our world and lives.
The World Shaped By Time. First in a three-part documentary series offering an insight into the dramatic forces that shape life on Earth, using speeded-up footage that compresses centuries into seconds. The programme follows the movement of mountains, rivers, glaciers and the sea, and offers a glimpse of what the future might hold, revealing how the Great Rift Valley may well be on its way to becoming the next ocean.
Life: The Race Against Time. How the passing of time on Earth affects life on a variety of levels, from the daily opening of a flower’s petals to the evolution of the horse. A swift journey through the seasons demonstrates how caribou spend most of their time on the move, while the flying squirrel’s body clock, attuned to the rhythms of the Earth, is revealed to be the most accurate in nature.
Masters of Time. The last episode in the series examines how humans perceive and experience time, investigating the internal body clock which tells people when to eat, drink, sleep and relax. The importance of accurately measuring time is explored in relation to human evolution, and there’s a debate about whether mankind will ever be able to travel between past, present and future.
Shot on location in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, Ancient Discoveries unearths amazing technologies we think of as modern, but which actually have their origins in antiquity. The series travels back in time to uncover remarkably sosphisticated inventions and to celebrate the ancient engineers whose ingenuity laid the foundations for todays technology.
In Mexico, explorers use a sacred ancient Mayan temple code to search for an occult underworld engineered in the depths of the earth–a mysterious site where no TV cameras have ever ventured. In Britain, investigators uncover the secret technologies behind a life size statue of Jesus Christ that miraculously came to life. Weapons experts reveal the science that saved a holy military order from certain annihilation in the bloodiest siege in history. In Greece, archaeologists solve the mystery of the oracle of the dead; an eerie sanctuary where flying ghosts appeared from the depths of hell.
Infamous American shootout. “On February 28, 1997, a high stakes bank robbery devolved into an urban firefight that became one of the most violent shootouts in law enforcement history. With TV cameras capturing the action from above, two paramilitary-style gunmen took over a bank using terrorist technology. Donning full body armor and automatic weapons, they charged out of a Bank of America branch in North Hollywood, California. With brutal and brazen disregard, they fired armor-piercing ammo at police and citizens, turning a congested residential area into a combat zone. Police on the scene that day recount their ordeal in this gripping hour.”
Though never elected to any office, for nearly 50 years J. Edgar Hoover’s power was unmatched. As head of the FBI, he knew what everyone else wanted to keep hidden.He recognized that information is power, which is why he maintained secret files. Files so scandalous all of Washington feared him. But behind the public persona his shocking private life from his gambling addiction to his preferences for women’s clothing nearly brought him down.
After Mac Brazel found remnants of a strange object on his ranch in New Mexico in July 1947, the tiny town of Roswell would never be the same. As federal authorities descended and removed all traces of the silvery object, rumours about UFOs spread like wildfire. Authorities were quick to deny any out-of-this-world link, dismissing the flying object as a weather balloon. But to this day, some still swear the government is hiding something big: if not a UFO, perhaps a top-secret spying device, or weapon of war that might have blown this hamlet to bits.
250 million years ago, long before dinosaurs roamed the Earth, the land and oceans teemed with life. This was the Permian, a golden era of biodiversity that was about to come to a crashing end. Within just a few thousand years, 95% of the lifeforms on the planet would be wiped out, in the biggest mass extinction Earth has ever known. What natural disaster could kill on such a massive scale? It is only in recent years that evidence has begun to emerge from rocks in Antarctica, Siberia and Greenland.
The demise of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago (at the so-called K/T boundary), was as nothing compared to the Permian mass extinction. The K/T event killed off 60% of life on Earth; the Permian event 95%. Geological data to explain the destruction have been hard to find, simply because the rocks are so old and therefore subject to all kinds of erosion processes. It seems plausible that some kind of catastrophic environmental change must have made life untenable across vast swathes of the planet.
In the early 1990s, the hunt for evidence headed for a region of Siberia known as the Traps. Today it’s a sub-Arctic wilderness but 250 million years ago, over 200,000km² of it was a blazing torrent of lava. The Siberian Traps were experiencing a ‘flood basalt eruption’, the biggest volcanic effect on Earth. Instead of isolated volcanoes spewing out lava, the crust split and curtains of lava were released. And the Siberian flood eruption lasted for millions of years. Could volcanic activity over such a long time alter the climate enough to kill off 95% of life on Earth?