BBC robot animals to go undercover to film nature even David Attenborough

first_imgThe BBC programme will feature 34 robot animals Chimps proved curious about their new robot friend It will see 30 different robot animals sent to live among the real thing, with fully-working skeletons built bone by bone, a realistic muscle structure and an exterior created painstakingly by artists.The orangutan, the most expensive of the animatronics, saw each hair planted one by one in its body, while newly-hatched crocodiles were waterproofed in case their new mother dropped them into the river.A wild dog puppy was “taught” how to make characteristic submissive and playful gestures in order to help it be accepted by the pack, while a strategically egret and tortoise help film-makers capture an elephant family trying to protect its new baby while on the move. John Downer, producer, said the programme, which took three years to make, will help shed light on human emotion and behaviours, by showing they also exist in the animal kingdom.While is used to be frowned upon to anthropomorphise the nature world, he said, academics were now coming round to admitting the similarities.“I think that’s been the great breakthrough over the last ten years,” he said. “I think animal behaviourists knew it, but they didn’t dare say it.“You can’t spend any time with animals without realising that so much of what they do is just like us.“We’re seeing behaviour mirrored in that natural world. Now there’s no one who studies, particularly the primates but increasingly other animals. Some of the animals were a little too realistic A wild dog pup is designed to make a submissive bow, before adults accept it into the pack Chimps proved curious about their new robot friend One scene, which they claim has never been captured on camera before, will show a chimp attempting to keep a tiny genet kitten as a pet, while another sees a family of langur monkeys grieving after believing they had killed the lifeless robot animal.Tom McDonald, the BBC’s head of natural history commissioning, said the programme marked a “real change” in natural history filming, providing “genuinely mind-blowing” footage he promised would show viewers the world “in an entirely new way”.The results will be shown in a new series entitled Spy In the Wild, due to broadcast on BBC One in January.Grouped into themes, each episode will explore how animals display love, intelligence, misbehaviour and friendship across species: or, as one programme-maker described the latter, “whether the Lion King could be true”. “As scientist have been getting closer to them, they are now interpreting that behaviour through how we would express things.“To deny it is to fly in the face of what you’re seeing.“Everything always used to have to be couched in very scientific language. Those barriers have broken down, because it really stops you understanding what’s going on.”Rob Pilley, producer, said academics were now encouraging their use of animatronics in filming behaviour they had written about but never filmed, adding films were “contributing, albeit on a small level but a significant one, to science”.Spy in the Wild will be broadcast on BBC One on January 12. For decades, Sir David Attenborough and his television descendants have been creeping ever-closer to the natural world to show it off to viewers in all its glory.But the BBC will next year go one step further, as it commissions 34 hyper-realistic animatronic  spy creatures to go undercover in the animal world.A new BBC natural history show will see life-like animals from baby crocodiles to adult orangutans infiltrate the jungles, deserts and grasslands of the planet, in an attempt to assimilate into wild families.The results, programme-makers say, will prove once and for all that animals experience the same emotions and relationships to humans. The BBC programme will feature 34 robot animals One animal proved too realistic for its own good, after cameras caught a real tortoise valiantly trying to mate with its robot companion.Programme-makers admitted sending the finished creatures into their new families was “quite nerve-wracking”, with concerns about upsetting the natural order of families.In one difficult scene, a young langur monkey appears to believe she has dropped the robot baby to its death, with the family gathering round to mourn it.Robot animals were also sent to live among a penguin colony, as a chick hatching out of its own egg inside a bird’s nest and among dozens of giraffes filmed assembling in mourning for a family member which had died of old age. Some of the animals were a little too realistic The langur monkeys were later filmed grieving, after dropping the robot baby The langur monkeys were later filmed grieving, after dropping the robot baby A wild dog pup is designed to make a submissive bow, before adults accept it into the pack Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img

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