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Something like the shrew was the ancestor of all the mammals. One line took to the trees, developing dexterity, stereo-vision, larger brains, and a curiosity about their environment. Professor Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan, Cosmos: One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue, PBS 1980
Between me and the chimpanzee there is just one difference in an amino acid ... The number of amino acid differences which is a measure of the evolutionary distance between me and the other mammals. Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man 9/13: Evolution: The Ladder of Creation, BBC 1973
The ancient ancestor of all mammals that give birth to live young – including humans – probably had genetic similarities with the aardvark.
The elusive African mammal is a close match to our early cousin in the way its DNA is packaged into distinct bundles, or chromosomes, say scientists. BBC News online article 20th January 2003
Mammals: but how have they become so varied? David Attenborough, Life on Earth X: Theme & Variations, BBC 1979
There are a dozen or so species of mammals around the world that have specialized in living on ants and termites. ibid.
Mammals: they first appeared about 180 million years ago. That’s December 12th on our calendar. And the earliest of them certainly looked like some little insect-eating creatures that still thrive today. David Attenborough: Life on Earth: Mammals (revised series)
While some primitive mammals incubated eggs others developed more efficient methods of bringing up their young. ibid.
In the eucalyptus trees of Australia at night: this little marsupial is called a sugar glider, and with good reason. ibid.
Kangaroos – the marsupial equivalent of deer and antelope. ibid.
The amazing variety of mammalian forms are all derived from small nocturnal creatures that lived unobtrusively while the giant reptiles ruled the Earth. ibid.
Bats: caves like this in Mexico contain the densest population of individual mammals found anywhere on Earth. ibid.
Whales’ ... bodies supported by water have been able to grow into the biggest animals the world has ever seen. ibid.
Grass: it was only about 25 million years ago that grass began to spread widely on our planet. ibid.
The elephant is the largest living land animal. ibid.
The long duels between hunter and hunted fought out on the open plains led to a great development of team work and communication. ibid.
Lemurs are true primates, although primitive ones. They belong to the group that includes the moneys, apes and man himself. ibid.
Marmosets are the smallest of the seventy or so species of monkey in South America. ibid.
Many African monkeys have shown a readiness to come down to the ground. ibid.
There is more meaning and mutual understanding in exchanging a glance with a gorilla than with any other animal I know. Their sight, their hearing, their sense of smell are so similar to ours that they see the world in much the same way as we do. We live in the same sort of social groups with largely permanent family relationships. They walk around on the ground as we do, though they are immensely more powerful than we are. So if there were ever a possibility of escaping the human condition and living imaginatively in another creature's world, it must be with the gorilla. The male is an enormously powerful creature but he only uses his strength when he is protecting his family and it is very rare that there is violence within the group. So it seems really very unfair that man should have chosen the gorilla to symbolise everything that is aggressive and violent, when that is the one thing that the gorilla is not – and that we are. ibid.
Every gorilla has its unique fingerprints just as we have. ibid.
A very nimble mind and an inquisitive disposition – and that’s exactly what these chimpanzees have got. ibid.
Chimps live in groups of up to fifty. ibid.
Grooming has been a crucial influence in the development of chimp behaviour. ibid.
We ourselves are assuredly part of the natural world. Now it lies within our power to destroy it or to preserve it in all its variety and magnificence. ibid.
There are also small fury mammals – bats ... they’re flying out to catch their evening meal of insects ... Bats are latecomers to the skies. David Attenborough, The Life of Birds I: To Fly or Not to Fly? BBC 1998
This is one of the coldest places on Earth – the high Arctic ... There are animals that live here all the time. David Attenborough, The Life of Mammals I: A Winning Design, BBC 2002
The mammals’ ability to use our food to heat our bodies ... You find a bewildering variety of mammals. ibid.
The echidna doesn’t give birth to live babies: she lays an egg. ibid.
Only mammals produce milk. ibid.
As the landscape changed, so did the marsupial mammals. ibid.
The kangaroo can outpace a racehorse. ibid.
They’ve [mammals] managed to live almost anywhere. ibid.
The rise of this great dynasty was founded on the most surprising diet: insects. David Attenborough, The Life of Mammals II: Insect Hunters ***** BBC 2002
Shrews: they hunted in sets at night when most of the dinosaurs were sleeping. ibid.
The old joke that asks, How do hedgehogs mate? was right all along. The answer is of course with great care. ibid.
The rise of social insects sixty million years after the first mammals was a landmark in evolution. ibid.
Anteaters and Pangolins have different ancestors. ibid.
Why change the design of the perfect termite-eater? ibid.
Bats: Flight and the ability to catch insects on the wing is an extraordinary achievement. ibid.
The predators are elephants; their prey are plants. David Attenborough, The Life of Mammals III: Plant Predators
Sloth: this mobile compost heap. ibid.
The largest animal in the whole of the South American rain-forests: it’s a tapir. ibid.
Plant-eating mammals are a great success story. ibid.
Giraffes: they travel in groups up to thirty. ibid.
Wherever there are plant-eaters there are meat-eaters. ibid.
What you eat determines what you are. ibid.
An agouti ... has the right tools to deal with any nut. David Attenborough, The Life of Mammals IV: Chisellers
Rodents specialise in being able to chisel their way through almost anything. ibid.
Rats and mice: there are 1,300 species. ibid.
The biggest rodents in the world: capybara ... They are most at home in the water. ibid.
Rodents truly are the most adaptable of mammals. ibid.
The rabbit weighs ten times as much as the stoat but the stoat prefers to eat in privacy. David Attenborough, The Life of Mammals V: Meat Eaters
There are two great tribes of carnivores: there are the cats and there are the dogs. ibid.
The Siberian tiger: ten feet long from nose to tail. ibid.
The most mysterious, the least known of all dogs: South American bush dog ... The only dogs with webbed feet. ibid.
African hunting dogs: 80% of their chases will end in a kill. ibid.
Most lions do most of their hunting at night. ibid.
Cheetahs are the fastest thing on four legs. ibid.
The leopard is perhaps the most accomplished stalker. ibid.
Instead of being a specialist, you can be a generalist. David Attenborough, The Life of Mammals VI: Opportunists
Omnivores are the most adaptable animals in the world. ibid.
Foxes bury their surplus food. ibid.
During hibernation a bear burns up almost a million calories. ibid.
In a good salmon year a bear can catch a dozen a day. ibid.
Raccoons have found our cities very much to their liking. ibid.