Animal communities are often hierarchical, with an alpha male or female controlling the pack. The new BBC series Dynasties (Sundays 20:30, BBC One), narrated by Sir David Attenborough, tracks the power struggles that establish those hierarchies. Following five species in five episodes, it asks: Who’s at the top? What did they have to do to get there? And who’s lurking the bushes, threatening to topple them off their throne?
In this episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we talk to Nick Lyon, an experienced natural history filmmaker who produced an episode of the series about painted wolves. With his team, he tracked several packs of painted wolves at Mana Pools National Park in northern Zimbabwe for more than 500 days, and witnessed an amazing power struggle between a mother and her daughter.
He talks to BBC Focus editorial assistant Helen Glenny about the behaviour he filmed in Zimbabwe that had never been seen before, what it takes to create powerful natural history stories, and how to gain the trust of wild animals.
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Listen to more Science Focus Podcast episodes:
- The genetic hunt for the Loch Ness Monster – Neil Gemmell
- What we got wrong about pandas and teenagers
- Belka and Strelka: Russia’s canine cosmonauts – Vix Southgate
- The truth about dinosaurs – Steve Brusatte
- Why we love pets – Dr John Bradshaw
- Solving the plastic problem – Mark Miodownik