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Can You Tell What Animal David Attenborough Is Talking About?

Even Sir David doesn't know the answers.
Even Sir David doesn’t know the answers.
Photograph by Mikedixson

Sir David Attenborough, creator of the world’s best nature documentaries (and now namesake of a research vessel), turns 90 this Sunday. To celebrate, I watched all 79 episodes of his Life series and ranked them over at The Atlantic. Meanwhile, here, I’ve created two difficult quizzes to test your knowledge of the man’s work, and of the animals whose lives he has so memorably described.

Each consists of ten quotes from one of his classic series, from Life on Earth in 1979 to Life in Cold Blood in 2008. Your job is to work out which animal he’s talking about. Enjoy!

And if you crave further punishment fun, try the Really Really Hard edition.

5 thoughts on “Can You Tell What Animal David Attenborough Is Talking About?

  1. That is one of your best pieces, Ed.

    I was thinking – where’s the one about the gorillas, and it duly turned up.

    Then what about the chimps’ colobus hunt, and that was there too.

    Where were the leafcutter ants (OK!)

    Where was the garter snakes’ group grope, and that was mentioned.

    “You might fall a bit in love with him”.

    Well yes, I’m reminded of a column by Clive James some years ago, when he noted “Female viewers moan low, as they watch Attenborough doing…” etc etc.

    Those female viewers probably lost their minds if they saw the episode in the South Pacific where local customs made the visitors strip down, and we saw the young Attenborough and his film crew (from the back) walk naked into a native hut.

    My favourite quotation from Attenborough emerged in an interview on Australian television, where he said:

    “Do you know the astonishing discoveries that have happened in my lifetime?”

    And then he reeled off a list of revelations about the natural world, such as the discovery of the genetic code, the realisation of the close kinship of all life, the spreading of humans round the globe, etc.

    He added” Have you heard of hox genes?”

    Worse luck, the wretched interviewer, normally quite intelligent, said, “No”, and changed the subject.

    If only the great David could live to 150! We are so privileged to have him.

  2. Loved the quizzes; the variety of nature and the really unorthodox methods of the animal and plant life… some of those unorthodox may make us cringe, BUT then “those are animals” whereas ‘humans’ with all their civilization and intelligence do the same and usually are even more worse.

  3. Very nice quizzes, the only ones I got wrong were from shows I hadn’t seen, but nonetheless enjoyed the memories….
    Sir David, I hope you have a Great Birthday, and enjoy many more to come! I love your programs…..

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