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The Shape of Life

The Shape of Life is an eight-part PBS documentary series narrated by Peter Coyote, discussing recent researches on evolution. What was the first animal? How did animals begin to move? How did animals move from the ocean to land? What is the purpose of sea shells? How do humans fit into the shape of life? The series tries to answer these questions by looking at the recent scientific researches on evolution, which tell how animals has evolved from early sea creatures like sponges, cnidarians and flatworms.

Episode 1 - Origins
What was the first animal? Scientists believe they have gathered substantial evidence that points to a single animal group of creatures that gave rise to all animals, including humans.

Episode 2 - Life on the Move
How did animals begin to move? The diverse and graceful ballet of animal movement may have started with cnidarians, a group that includes corals, sea anemones, and jellyfish.

Episode 3 - The First Hunter
What animals were the first to hunt? Scientists believe that a flatworm-like animal was the first to hunt for food and mates.

Episode 4 - Explosion of Life
During the Cambrian Explosion around 530 million years ago, life evolved at an explosive rate. What caused the rapid appearance of new kinds of animals 520 million years ago?

Episode 5 - The Conquerors
How did animals move from the ocean to land? About 400 million years ago, fossil tracks suggest that an animal called a eurypterid left the water to walk on land.

Episode 6 - Survival Game
What is the purpose of sea shells? Behind the beautiful shapes and colors of seashells is the story of how a group of animals called mollusks evolved in order to survive.

Episode 7 - Ultimate Animal
Is one type of animal better than the rest? Echinoderms like sea stars and sea cucumbers have no head and eyes, yet they have proven themselves worthy competitors.

Episode 8 - Bones, Brawn and Brains
How do humans fit into the shape of life? As we go through our lives - driving cars, exploring the Internet, etc - it is hard to imagine that we're related to Earth's other animals.


Related Links
Life on Earth
This is a BBC nature documentary series, consisting of thirteen episodes (each of around 55 minutes' duration), about a study of the evolution of life on the planet.
David Attenborough's First Life
This is a two-part BBC documentary series presented by David Attenborough, looking at the origin of life on Earth.
Triumph of Life
This is a six-part PBS documentary series narrated by Liev Schreiber, telling the story of evolution of life on Earth.
Evolution
This is a PBS documentary series exploring various facets of evolution - the theory of evolution, its impact on our understanding of the world, and how evolution continues to affect us everyday.