Episode 2 - The Whale
In this episode experts dissect a 20 metre, 50 tonne fin whale - second only in size to its 'cousin' the blue whale - that has died after being stranded off the coast of Ireland. It's a race against time as whale anatomist Joy Reidenberg flies in from New York before the animal's decomposition causes it to explode on the beach.
Veterinary scientist Mark Evans helps investigate its mysterious death and explores its extraordinary anatomy. Using whale-size machinery, Joy and the team set to work amidst gale force winds, driving rain, blood, intestines, evil smells and freezing conditions. Meanwhile, advancing tides engulf the whale, jeopardising the whole operation.
Beneath the blubber, the whale's incredible anatomy holds vital clues to its evolution from a wolf-sized animal that walked the land 50 million years ago. Richard Dawkins explains why the whales’ ancestors may have taken to the water and the evolutionary problems that had to be overcome to transform a four-legged mammal into an aquatic giant.