An ex – President of the Geological Society is bound to be one of the survivors. But starting on Tuesday 24th at 9 p.m. I am fronting a BBC4 series about different kinds of survivors – animals and plants whose relatives are known deep in the fossil record.
“Living fossils” was how Charles Darwin described them. It is a label that has stuck, although we now know that even if their morphology has not changed much, interesting things might still be happening at the genetic level.
Based on my new book “Survivors” (Harper Press) the series is a dash around the world to look for some of the animals and plants that time has passed by. If there are secrets to longevity, it would be good to know what they are.
The journey took the crew and the author (twice their age) to watch horseshoe crabs spawning on Delaware Bay, to the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park (in a blizzard), to Kangaroo Island to search out echidnas, and to Henley on Thames to find liverworts. It was a fine distraction for one who has spent most of his life looking at trilobites.
Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow night, and let me know what you thought in the comments below.