The extreme challenges of life in the polar regions require the animals who make their habitat there to make many adaptations. This free course, Animals at the extremes: Polar biology, explores the polar climate and how animals like reindeer, polar bears, penguins, sea life and even humans manage to survive there. It looks at the adaptations to physiological proceses, the environmental effects on diet, activity and fecundity, and contrasts the strategies of aquatic and land-based animals in surviving in this extreme habitat.
2009 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On The Origin Of Species. This album introduces Darwin's great revelation: that species change and adapt according to their environment. Apparently diverse specimens and fossils reveal surprising results, such as the common ancestry of the hippopotamus and the dolphin, whose evolutionary paths diverged when their habitats changed. Research on sparrows show how particular characteristics are linked to success at surviving in the wild, and the selective breeding of dogs for aesthetic purposes shows how humans can influence the evolution of other species. This material forms part of The Open University course S366 Evolution.