In the Womb

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Saturday 11 April, 7.30pm

The cat family is one of the most successful animal groups. They naturally occur on every continent except Australia and Antarctica, and come in all shapes and sizes: from the small, harmless house-cat; to the King of Beasts, the lion; to the fastest animal on land, the cheetah. Yet how different are they? They’re certainly different species and vastly differing sizes, but they share many of the same instincts and behaviour and many of the same characteristics as they grow in the womb. Find out what kittens and lion cubs acquire before they’re even born that equips them to be such incredible predators when they’re grown up.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Saturday 4 April, 7.30pm

Follow the in-womb development – from fertilisation to birth – of three domesticated dogs and their single ancestor, the grey wolf. By contrasting their foetal development, explore just how closely related they are, as well as what it is that makes them so distinct. The three breeds are different in both form and function: the giant Neapolitan Mastiff, bred as a guard dog to roman emperors; the tiny Mexican Chihuahua, a lapdog to the famous; and the ever popular hunting dog, the Golden Retriever. Visual effects, computer graphics and real-time, moving ultra-sound images provide a unique view into the canine womb.

Sunday 22 March, 8.30pm on NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

New Zealand Premiere!

Not all animals have an easy or peaceful birth. Explore some animals’ truly extraordinary methods of reproduction and gestation – from the beginnings of courtship right through to birth and beyond. Cameras reveal the hitherto unseen world of these animals in utero following, in step-by-step detail, the process through which each individual species-specific trait develops. How does a penguin embryo not freeze? Why does a kangaroo leave its mother only half formed? Why is having any brothers and sisters so potentially lethal for many shark foetuses? And what was it about one creature’s method of reproduction that caused Charles Darwin to question the existence of God himself?