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OU on the BBC: Rules of Life - Welcome from Aubrey Manning

Updated Wednesday, 9th November 2005

Aubrey Manning travels through Britain, the USA and Africa in search of The Rules of Life. This 8 part series explores the forces, influences and pressures that bear down on an animal right from the moment of conception through to its death. Discover more in our series summary.

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Aubrey Manning Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Production team

In this series, I travel through Britain, the USA and Africa in search of The Rules of Life. Working with the Open University, this 8 part series explores the forces, influences and pressures that bear down on animals right from the moment of conception through to their death. The struggle is to leave descendants, only those whose forebears won through remain today as proof of their success. It is a harsh struggle and for young animals setting out, the rule is, if at first you don’t succeed, you don’t succeed.

In these programmes there are many fascinating stories of the strategies which have evolved and the choices animals have to make, not necessarily consciously, but vitally. The struggles involved in getting born, growing up, pairing up and becoming a parent, all reveal that apparent harmony is often riven with conflict. Animals have ultimately to be selfish and for them the ends always justify the means. The CD issued with this series illustrates some of the ways in which our modern understanding of animal behaviour has developed since the time some 50 years ago when Nobel Laureates Konrad Lorenz and Niko Tinbergen founded the new ethology.

This website contains lots of fascinating information and articles relating to the series. You can find out about what’s in store in the 8 individual programmes, and which aspect of life we are featuring in each one. We have articles on Natural Selection and Evolution, Human Impact, and Parent and Infant. There’s also a selection of Open University courses which you can take a look at, if you‘d like to take your interest further.

Making the series has taken me on an amazing journey; I hope you'll have a wonderful experience joining me, as we explore The Rules of Life.

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