BBC Documentary Walking with Beasts (6-6) - Mammoth Journey.en.txt

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{1259}{1338}For the last 50 million years|the world has been getting
{1329}{1390}slowly colder.
{1414}{1508}But something else has now helped|tip it over the edge.
{1504}{1627}A change in the earth's orbit is taking|it further from the sun.
{1615}{1702}This has brought on an lce Age.
{1696}{1773}Conditions for all life become|extremely hazardous,
{1765}{1833}even for the mighty mammoths.
{1993}{2113}The early autumn snow f all has concealed|a barely frozen pond.
{2102}{2202}This young female has f allen through|the ice and is trapped.
{2300}{2387}Such are the bonds between mammoths|that the heard do not leave
{2377}{2430}their stranded sister.
{2427}{2571}They stay near by, distressed but|powerless except to comfort her.
{2962}{3067}Before long, the scavengers|have started to gather.
{3335}{3442}lt could take days for the female|to die and the heard cannot
{3429}{3482}afford to wait.
{3477}{3556}Eventually they are forced|to abandon her.
{3548}{3711}They must keep moving to escape|the coming lce Age winter.
{3998}{4082}For the few months of summer there is|little here to suggest that
{4073}{4143}the world is in the middle of an lce Age
{4143}{4277}An endless sea of grass and flowers|supports a variety of animals.
{4267}{4400}But just a few metres down, the ground|is frozen solid all year round.
{4426}{4524}There is now so much water frozen|at the poles that sea levels
{4512}{4571}have f allen dramatically.
{4564}{4654}lf it wasn't an lce Age this grassland|would be the bottom
{4644}{4693}of the North Sea.
{4689}{4832}As it is, it's a magnet for millions|of grazing animals during the summer.
{4833}{4941}The biggest grass-eaters of them|all are the mammoths.
{5089}{5186}This programme will be following one|particular herd in their annual
{5175}{5236}struggle against the elements.
{5231}{5344}Like all mammoth herds, this one is|mostly female since males leave
{5330}{5372}at adolescence.
{5370}{5441}There are five adult females|a ten year old male and
{5434}{5597}smallest of all, a male calf|just six months old.
{5587}{5723}Born in the spring he has yet to|experience how bad a winter can be.
{5773}{5863}The eldest member is the matriarch.
{5857}{5980}She is a veteran of some 40 winters|and it is her experience
{5964}{6082}that ensures the survival of the herd|when the going gets tough.
{6269}{6398}Mammoths are just one of many herbivores|to enjoy the summer bounty.
{6388}{6511}They are all animals, in their own way|built for the cold. The mammoths
{6495}{6617}and bison have their characteristic|shaggy coats while the Saiga
{6602}{6675}antelopes have another adaptation.
{6679}{6806}Broad noses help them warm up the|air before they breathe it.
{6950}{7068}With so much game it is not surprising|there are also predators.
{7136}{7205}Human hunt on these plains in summer.
{7198}{7306}They have not physical adaptation to|cope with the cold but instead
{7293}{7401}wear animal hides and weave cloth to|protect themselves.
{7533}{7661}These predators specialise in small prey|and seldom hunt anything as big
{7645}{7704}and dangerous as the mammoths.
{7705}{7790}But mammoths are nonetheless very|important to them.
{7834}{7919}With so little wood on parts of|the plain they collect
{7910}{8009}the tusks of dead animals to|build huts and even use their
{7997}{8059}bones for fuel.
{8087}{8200}These most inventive of creatures are|capable of making the most of
{8185}{8252}every resource available.
{8401}{8507}Of all the summer visitors|the most numerous are the flies
{8494}{8583}which are a constant source of|irritation for the mammoths.
{8661}{8741}The humans, however|have learnt to do something about them.
{8737}{8829}They grind up a paste made out of|a mineral called ochre which
{8818}{8888}helps keep the insects at bay.
{8998}{9092}Come the autumn, this plain will|become a freezing hell hole
{9080}{9169}so the mammoths make the most of|the summer while they can.
{9192}{9332}They eat up to 180 kilograms of grass|a day while the males mate with
{9314}{9377}as many females as possible.
{10219}{10310}Early autumn and the big|freeze has begun.
{10300}{10374}The mammoths are still on|the northern plains.
{10407}{10501}These creatures evolved from|hairless elephants in Africa
{10490}{10570}but have become living fortresses|against the cold.
{10573}{10662}Under their skin they have a|layer of f at 10cms thick
{10651}{10692}for insulation.
{10689}{10777}Also they have small ears and|short tails to prevent them
{10766}{10822}losing too much heat.
{10849}{10957}On top of all this they have their|characteristic carpet of hair
{10944}{11039}which has now grown to a metre|in length as their bodies respond
{11028}{11086}to the drop in temperatures.
{11350}{11474}As the weeks pass, the true savagery of|the climate begins to bite.
{11523}{11617}The humans have already left the plains|to seek shelter and
{11605}{11671}milder weather further south.
{11849}{11920}Soon the mammoths too will go.
{11916}{12025}With little grass available and no|protection from a wind chill
{12011}{12132}that will average minus 50 degrees|centigrade, even they have to
{12117}{12159}move south.
{12250}{12333}This lce Age is in f act only one of many
{12323}{12413}Two and a half million years ago|the earth's climate started on a
{12403}{12498}roller coaster of warmer|and colder periods.
{12487}{12604}There have been almost 50 lce Ages|so f ar but this is
{12588}{12648}the coldest yet.
{12729}{12838}The matriarch decides it is time to|head off towards the less
{12825}{12899}exposed valleys of the Alps.
{13041}{13177}lt is a 400km journey that|they are driven to every year.
{13840}{13920}For the Megaloceros, autumn is not|a time to travel,
{13911}{13957}it is a time to rut.
{13953}{14047}These males are fighting for the harem|of females nearby.
{14036}{14080}Winner takes all.
{14123}{14226}Megaloceros are a giant form of deer|and the males sport a most
{14214}{14269}impressive set of antlers.
{14285}{14356}Each one is as long as a person.
{14370}{14445}lt's a wonder they can even hold|their heads up.
{14533}{14613}Exhausted from fighting,|neither has noticed
{14604}{14660}they are in a trap.
{14897}{15103}Humans are predators unlike any before.|They use not strength but strategy,
{15073}{15164}pushing the Megaloceros into|the trees where their antlers
{15153}{15203}prevent escape.
{15224}{15303}Only one of them|has the energy to break out.
{16248}{16339}The humans will have to take what|they want as quickly as possible
{16328}{16475}before lce Age scavengers like wolves,|lions and hyenas make this a
{16455}{16516}dangerous place to be.
{16952}{17068}Half way through their journey and|the mammoths are progressing well.
{17053}{17161}But for one member of the herd|it is a constant struggle,
{17148}{17185}the youngest.
{17183}{17239}This is his first winter.
{17234}{17318}Many yearlings never see their second.
{17496}{17579}They soon catch up with other|migrating animals.
{17570}{17721}Humans are also heading for the Alps|where the extensive cave networks
{17701}{17734}make perfect winter retreats.
{17733}{17837}The matriarch keeps a wary eye on them|and the humans know better
{17824}{17885}than to get too close.
{18416}{18530}The days pass and the calf is starting|to get into trouble.
{18516}{18588}He is having real difficulty keeping up.
{18641}{18765}His mother stays with him but the herd|cannot wait and the pair are
{18749}{18807}starting to f all behind.
{19018}{19124}On this snowscape a lion might seem|out of place but they are common
{19111}{19224}in Europe at this time and a baby|mammoth in trouble is just
{19210}{19316}the sort of thing to bring|this cave lion out of its den.
{19426}{19542}Defended by a full grown adult|the baby is relatively safe.
{19527}{19651}But the lion continues to stalk|hoping for the mother's guard to slip.
{19656}{19740}The pair have now completely|lost the herd.
{20025}{20127}Across the landscape other mammoths|are making the same journey
{20114}{20205}This is an adult male and|he travels alone.
{20211}{20305}There are lions in his way|feasting on a straggler,
{20295}{20418}in this case not a mammoth|calf but a human.
{20805}{20879}The lions will have to let him pass.
{20871}{20968}Nothing gets in the way of|a mammoth migrating.
{21132}{21249}Mammoths are sociable animals and|as the forests around them become
{21235}{21337}denser so the small herds|start to join up.
{21393}{21519}Soon hundreds of mammoths are winding|their way through the wintry
{21502}{21565}lowlands of Europe.
{22012}{22131}As the mammoths near the Alsace region|the terrain changes dramatically
{22116}{22200}Flat plains give way to|hills and valleys.
{22235}{22372}lt is here that lives another species|of human, the Neanderthals.
{22501}{22570}They are much shorter than|the other humans and,
{22562}{22635}like other lce Age animals|they have big noses to
{22628}{22692}warm the air they breathe.
{22690}{22814}Rather than migrate they stay within|the same valleys all year long,
{22805}{22905}weathering out the worst of the winter|in shallow caves.
{22921}{23044}But with this recent lce Age their|numbers have plummeted.
{23030}{23108}This is now an endangered species.
{23328}{23460}Another animal that doesn't travel|south in winter is the woolly rhino.
{23461}{23579}They are very short-sighted and this|huge male has not even noticed the
{23563}{23639}Neanderthal just 50m away.
{23771}{23872}For a while, the Neanderthal doesn't|notice the rhino either.
{24047}{24150}Woolly rhinos are easily startled and|will charge at anything that
{24138}{24182}surprises them.
{24180}{24264}Even at this distance he won't see|the Neanderthal but his
{24255}{24343}sense of smell is better than his sight
{24336}{24416}The rhino has picked up the scent.
{25224}{25325}lt is fortunate for the Neanderthal|that his species is stron...
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