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- TV Show Ended -
There is no Next Episode of Life Story planned.
David Attenborough brings us the universal story that unites each of us with every animal on the planet, the story of the greatest of all adventures - the journey through life.
For animals there is just one goal in life - to continue their bloodline in the form of offspring, the next best thing to immortality. The series shows how animals attempt to overcome the challenges that face them at each of the six crucial stages of life as they strive towards ultimate success.
In the first episode, animals overcome their first great hurdle - surviving infancy.
Flightless barnacle goose chicks face their greatest challenge at the very start of their lives. In order to find food they must leap 400 feet down a cliff, from the ledge where they hatched.
Young fur seals in New Zealand have found the perfect place to learn how to avoid predators like killer whales. Instead of swimming out to sea they have discovered a stream that leads into the forest and ends at a magical splash pool below a waterfall. Here the youngsters learn together in perfect safety.
The little-known long-eared jerboa, deep in the Gobi desert, has the largest ears relative to its body of any animal on earth. On its first night alone it learns how to use its astonishing hearing to detect insect prey in the darkness.
Albatross chicks make their first flight from the Pacific island where they were born, but huge tiger sharks are waiting for any that misjudge and land on the sea.
In the journey towards adulthood, a moment comes for all animals when they must strike out on their own. With their parents absent they must learn to survive in a dangerous world. At this stage of life every small success may mean the difference between life and death.
Animals must find somewhere to live - a place that provides the necessities of life, shelter from the elements and a refuge from enemies.
Good homes are rare and competition can be intense - finding a home is one thing, but defending it is quite another.
Home for a pack of African hunting dogs is a vast plain in Zambia. But it's far from safe. They must protect their young from predators and battle their age-old enemy, the hyena.
Hermit crabs on an isolated tropical island make their homes in empty snail shells. But there is a severe housing shortage. When a new property washes ashore the crabs form an orderly queue, in order of size. It's a housing chain. When the chain is complete each crab moves into the newly-vacated shell ahead of it in the line.
Chimps have made a home on the edge of the Sahara desert. They only survive by knowing how to find water even in the most extreme droughts. The elders lead their troop on a brutal trek to a dried-out riverbed. Once there they know exactly where to dig to create wells.
Animals must try to gain a position of power in their worlds. The most powerful have best access to food and water, and they are also the most attractive to the opposite sex.
An orphaned, friendless, young chimp leaves his playful youth behind as he attempts to climb the social ladder. His troop is ruled by big, aggressive males. His first attempt to join them ends in a beating, but making his first friend changes his life. Together, they hunt for small mammals using spears, and share the spoils. It's an act that changes them from friends to allies.
In meerkat society knowledge is power, and knowing how to deal with a venomous snake is essential for any youngster who wants to be a player in its world.
Few young male kangaroos will ever get to occupy the top spot in their world. The only way is to fight and beat the 8-foot ruling male in a brutal boxing match.
The competition to breed has created both the most extraordinary beauty and the most violent battles seen in nature. Waved albatross pair for life and spend hours canoodling with each other. But for a malepeacock jumping spider one wrong move in his dazzling courtship routine may well prove fatal.
A male flame bowerbird creates a stick sculpture decorated with shells and berries to impress a mate. Even that isn't enough. He then uses it as a backdrop to show off his vivid colours in a dazzling dance. But things don't go to plan as his bower is destroyed by mischievous youngsters and a rival male.
But the most extraordinary display of all is created by a tiny, drab male pufferfish. He builds a spectacular submarine 'crop circle' in the sand. It's the most perfect and complex structure created by any animal. The crop circles were only discovered in southern Japan in 1995 and the fish architect was only identified in 2011.
In the final episode of Life Story, animals attempt to rear their offspring. This takes extraordinary commitment, and a parent may even need to risk its own life for its offspring. A female turtle, returning to the island where she was born 30 years ago, hauls herself up the beach to lay her eggs in a safe place above the tide line. But her commitment may prove her undoing. The low tide traps her on the island behind a wall of coral. If she cannot climb over it the heat of the sun will kill her.
A mother bonobo chimpanzee lavishes care on her son for five years, deep in the Congo forest. Their bond will endure for the rest of her life. She will teach him how to survive in the jungle. One of her most important lessons is showing him a hidden forest pool where they harvest lilies rich in minerals essential for their good health.
A mother zebra must decide where to lead her young foal across the Mara river so that they can reach new grazing grounds. Should she cross where they will face predators such as crocodiles? Or should she lead her foal through treacherous rapids? Her foal's life may rest on the decision she makes.
In a touching scene elephants delicately stroke the bones of an ancestor. We cannot know what they are thinking, but perhaps like humans they have a sense of a shared history? It is a communal experience that appears to draw the family members closer together.