The First forests

United Kingdom, 1978

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Episode number 3 of Series “Life on Earth”.
Part 3 of a series which traces the dramatic history of life on earth from its beginnings about 3,500 million years ago to the final emergence of man. In this episode David Attenborough discusses the evolution of plants from the first algae and moss-like plants that crept onto the land from the waters edge to the giant trees of todays forests, showing how they solved the two major problems of support and reproduction in the absence of water. The arrival of plants on land made it possible for animal life to live there as well and the evolution of the first plants and animals is inextricably linked. Also examines how plants grew taller, seeking light and how insects developed wings to reach their food sources. Microphotography is used to reveal unsuspected details of mosses, liverworts, ferns, cycads and conifers.



Christopher Parsons

production company




Production places
United Kingdom
Production dates

Appears in

Life on Earth

Group of items

Life on Earth


Collection metadata

ACMI Identifier




Subject categories

Animals & Wildlife → Adaptation (Biology)

Animals & Wildlife → Evolution (Biology)

Animals & Wildlife → Insects

Climate, Environment, Natural Resources & Disasters → Natural selection

Climate, Environment, Natural Resources & Disasters → Plants - Adaptation

Educational & Instructional

Educational & Instructional → Educational films

Mathematics, Science & Technology → Adaptation (Biology)

Mathematics, Science & Technology → Evolution (Biology)

Mathematics, Science & Technology → Life - Origin

Mathematics, Science & Technology → Natural selection

Short films

Short films → Short films - Great Britain






16mm film; Access Print (Section 1)

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