Prepare to be transported to strange worlds of animals : Animal Planet’s series MUTANT PLANET Explores the Mystery of Evolution

Why is our planet filled with such a bewildering diversity of mammals, reptiles, fish, birds, insects and plants?  Animal Planet’s new series MUTANT PLANET reveals how nature has shaped the eccentric animals together with the forces of nature and the magic of evolution. MUTANT PLANET reveals why nature allows existence of strange and bizarre animals and their patterns of behavior to flourish through the miracle of natural selection. The series is the celebration of the power of evolution, an exploration of the forces that shape life in all in its unexpected glory.

The 6-part series will premiere on Animal Planet from 12th to 17th September, every night at 8 pm.

MUTANT PLANET takes animal lovers through the fairytale archipelago with a turbulent geological past of New Zealand to the floating laboratory of Australia where the changing climate has triggered mutations in the animals. It explores Brazil’s ancient Cerrado grassland, Africa’s freshwater Great lakes, Madagascar – the land of lemurs and the bizarre Islands of Japan. Take a closer look to see how these animals overcome the extremes of an ice age, earthquake, volcanism, rain and starvation.

This interesting series experiences and encodes the behavior and genetic evolution of different creatures and tries to solve the jigsaw puzzle highlighting the power of evolution driving the exceptional adaptations. These animals keep the entire ecosystem in balance. The cast of characters is diverse and none behave as expected. It is interesting to see how animals find innovative ways to overcome periods of starvation.

Episode Descriptions

New Zealand

New Zealand is a fairytale archipelago with a turbulent geological past. A land with astonishing creatures: flightless birds, night dwellers and even living fossils. Evolution has run wild on this isolated land, producing some of the world’s most unusual animals. It is home to misfits and marvels found nowhere else on the planet.  Without the influence of land mammals, birds resign supreme, dominating every habitat.  The massive mountain fortresses are ruled by alpine parrots, the rugged coastline teems with bizarre seabirds, and the primeval forests are home to birds that no longer fly.

Australia

Australia is a floating laboratory whose ancient geological past and changing climate have triggered mutations in the animals here, culminating in over 200 species of bizarre pouched marsupials, which are all equipped with astounding survival features.  Almost half of Australia is desert. Few animals can survive here, but one marsupial calls it home – the iconic Red Kangaroo.  This creature is a pinnacle of evolution among marsupials, equipped with an arsenal of adaptations to survive the desert.  From its giant hop to its unique reproductive strategy, Australia’s Red Kangaroo demonstrates the power of evolution to drive exceptional adaptations.

Brazil’s Cerrado

On Brazil’s ancient Cerrado grassland a community of eccentric creatures are all inter-dependent, and all life revolves around the landscape of mysterious mud-caked monoliths. Brazil’s Cerrado is a sea of grass unlike any other on the planet.  The land is dominated by an annual cycle of arid drought, ravaging fire, and rejuvenating rain.  Spotted across the landscape are towering mud pillars.  These monoliths are termite mounds which are the key to all life here.

Africa’s Rift Valley Lakes

Africa’s freshwater Great Lakes are the birthplace of the biggest, fastest, and perhaps the strangest mutation of any vertebrate on Earth. Could these fish actually be as intelligent as chimps? Africa’s Rift Valley sets the stage for our own evolution.  Fossils show it was here that early hominid species left the forests and their ape ancestors around two million years ago…and walked upright across the grasslands to colonize the world.

Madagascar

The land of lemurs, an ancient primate family that evolved from only one small group which arrived on the island more than 60 million years ago. For them Madagascar became the land of evolutionary opportunity and today there are almost 100 living species. Every corner of Madagascar is inhabited by lemurs – a unique primate found nowhere else on the planet.  In the dark of night, the gremlin-like Aye Aye looks sinister, with a freakishly long middle finger.  The morning mist is pierced by haunting howls made by the Indri.  They are the loudest high pitched call of any lemur.  Huddled in a hollow tree is the Mouse Lemur…the smallest primate in the world, weighing in at about four ounces.  What forces created such bizarre adaptations?

Japan

Isolated from the Asian mainland, Japan’s animals have been forced to endure the most violently active islands on earth in a climate of extremes. Animals cast away on these outcrops must find innovative ways to overcome periods of starvation.  The islands of Japan sit above the intersection of four of the most active tectonic plates on the planet.  Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are frequent. This geological activity has created one of the most fascinating evolutionary histories on Earth.  Japan has actually been connected to mainland Asia several times in the past, allowing for new invasions of species… but each time the land became isolated again and the forces of evolution took over.