Members of the online news and social media site Reddit chatted with one of the giants of natural history today: Sir David Attenborough.
The octogenarian broadcaster spent an hour answering dozens of questions, generating nearly 5000 responses along the way.
He revealed his favourite amphibian is the poison tree frog “because it has very interesting mating behaviour” and that he spends a lot of his free time sleeping.
Here are some of his more fascinating answers to Reddit questions:
- Asked about most distressing/upsetting moment of his career, he said “Seeing chimpanzees kill monkeys, they do this to eat them. They chase them, set an ambush, catch them, and tear them apart.”
- The book that most changed the scientific world, after Darwin’s Origin of Species is Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.
- His childhood inspiration was the naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton. His book was published in 1910.
- On whether we’re in a new era of mass extinction, Sir David said “Yes, I’m afraid we are. It’s not possible to reverse the damage we’ve done. We are undoubtedly exterminating species at a speed which has never been known before.”
- His next project is a 3D film on the evolution of flight, out for Christmas this year.
The most human thing he’s seen animals do is lie, especially chimpanzees
“Also, when some Colobus monkeys find a very precious piece of food, it calls the alarm call that it would make if a snake were to arrive, and all the other monkeys run away and it gets the food.”
- The Worldwide Fund for Nature is an organisation everyone needs to know about for its work protecting the natural world.
- “People should realise that waste of anything is something that we cannot afford in this overcrowded world.”
- His favourite biscuit is chocolate.
He’s just released his latest film, the Jumanji-like Natural History Museum Alive.
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