Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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Gail Weiswasser at the Discovery channel emailed a few days ago to tell me about the upcoming March 21 premiere on the Discovery Channel of BBC’s LIFE, the 11-part follow up to PLANET EARTH (the most successful natural history documentary of all time). While PLANET EARTH told the story of the natural world through the framework of our planet’s ecosystems and regions, LIFE takes us on a more intimate journey, introducing different animal and plant groups, using the latest in HD filming techniques to show jaw-dropping behaviors never witnessed before. Narrated by Oprah Winfrey and spanning all seven continents, LIFE took over four years to produce and every minute of footage in the series is new. Unfortunately, due to copyright restrictions, I am unable to watch the youtube “sneak peeks” in Germany, but at my request, Gail kindly emailed the youtube embed codes so my American readers can watch them:

From Reptiles and Amphibians (Premiering March 21 at 9 PM ET/PT)

Komodo Dragons Hunt Buffalo:

So I have to ask you, dear readers, to be my eyes: what happened?


  1. #1 carel
    March 20, 2010

    It’s the dry season. Two Water Buffaloes are wallowing in mud in a mostly dry riverbed. Brief shot of a Crab-eating Macaque. A Komodo Dragon approaches a buffalo, tongue flicking, bites the buffalo’s ankle twice. Snaps at its face and misses.
    It was very interesting for me to see this clip, because I was there at the shooting.

  2. #2 "GrrlScientist"
    March 20, 2010

    wow, how very interesting! why were you there with the camera crew? how long were you with them? this was a natural occurrence, right? (no staged/forced animal interactions?)

    did you know the camera crew followed the buffalo that had been bitten on the ankle and it died a few weeks later? something like ten komodo dragons followed the animal as it died and stripped the flesh off its carcass in less than four hours (according to the video — i watched it tonight).

  3. #3 carel
    March 20, 2010

    Natural occurrence? Not likely. We just stumbled upon these guys while hiking on Rinca, and only stuck around for about ten minutes. They were filming a buffalo at the time; a large dragon was resting on the bank a few yards downstream, just beyond the rocks from which you see him poking his head. I never heard anything more about this filming until recognizing the setup on your blog this morning.

  4. #4 Alycia
    March 21, 2010

    The Life series is definitely worth watching. I saw the first episode tonight and I can’t wait to see the rest!

  5. #5 adthay
    March 22, 2010

    this would have bothered me if i hadn’t said something but the komodo dragon doesn’t produce venom it simply has an adaptation that allows it to carry many forms of infection in its mouth which it then spreads via its bite.

  6. #6 joshua
    March 23, 2010


    Actually, a recent study indicated that Komodos do indeed possess venom.

    This is mentioned in the documentary, as well as on this Wikipedia page:

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