List of The Future Is Wild episodes
This is a list of The Future Is Wild episodes. Most episodes focus on one food chain in a scenario of the world 5, 100 or 200 million years from now. Each episode was written by Victoria Coules.
|Episode||Title||Time||Original air date|
|1||"Welcome to the Future"||-||April 2, 2002|
|The opening episode serves as an introduction to the series, featuring many clips from later episodes and giving an overview of the series. It opens by discussing which animals (such as the big cats and bears) will disappear in a few thousand years and explains that evolution will continue. It is also the only episode to touch upon the absence of humans in the future. It does not, however, explain what will have happened to the human race. The creators said that it was up to the viewers to make their own assumptions about the fate of mankind (although in the Discovery Channel's airing of the series, it is stated that humanity migrated to another world, and has been sending probes periodically to inspect their former home).|
|2||"Return of the Ice"||5 million years from now||April 9, 2002|
|The episode is set in North Europe, 5 million years into the future. The episode focuses on three hypothesized species: (1) Shagrat, a descendant of the marmot that has grown in size and developed thicker fur and a smaller nose to protect it from the cold; (2) Snowstalker, a descendant of the wolverine that has evolved sabre-teeth and white fur for camouflage; (3) Gannetwhale, a descendant of the gannet which has grown to immense size to replace the sea mammals. The episode explains that the onset of the ice age was very fast, so many animals died out. The ones that did survive had to have quick generations so they evolved fast. This is why rodents were successful. The episode follows the story of a female Snowstalker teaching her cubs to hunt, the Gannetwhale's breeding season and the mass migration to the south of the Shagrats.|
|3||"The Vanished Sea"||5 million years from now||April 16, 2002|
The episode is set in what was the Mediterranean sea in 5 million years time. It features four species: (1) Cryptile, a lizard with a sticky frill to catch flies which it can then lick off at its leisure; (2) Scrofa, a descendant of the wild boar which has developed spindly legs to allow it to live on the rocky islands in the desert; (3) Gryken, a descendant of the pine marten which hunts Scrofa in the cracked rocks of the landscape; (4) brine flies (live-acted).Before this time in the future, the tip of Africa has collided with the southern tip of Spain, thus enclosing the Mediterranean inland. It has since dried up to become an enormous salt desert with a few lakes of ultra-saline water, as it was during the Messinian salinity crisis. The holiday islands that used to be in the sea are now mountains scattered throughout the desert. The episode starts with two cryptiles mating. Then the female cryptile goes looking for grykes to lay her eggs in, for if they were laid in the salt, they would shrivel up and die. After she lays her eggs, she is chased by a gryken, but escapes, for grykens only have short speed bursts. The gryken hunts by crawling through the grykes, and captures its prey by surprise. The gryken then hunts scrofas. However, it fails, and is chased by an adult male. The gryken tries a second time and succeeds. However a baby scrofa gets lost in the process and wanders into the salt plains. It spots a cryptile eating brine flies. Soon the baby scrofa dies. The narrator explains how some animals such as pigs, lizards, and pine martens adapted to life in the salt flats.
|4||"Prairies of Amazonia"||5 million years from now||April 23, 2002|
The episode is set in South America where the Amazon used to stand in 5 million years time. It features three species: (1) Carakiller, a descendant of the caracara which has evolved to replace land predators; (2) Babookari, a descendant of the uakari which lives like baboons and has discovered how to catch fish; (3) Rattleback, a descendant of the agouti which has developed tough armour and can live through quickly-passing grass fires. This episode shows that due to the cooling of the planet, the Amazon rainforest has vanished and has been replaced by grassland. Most primates have died out but the Babookari has evolved to live on the plains. They have also become much cleverer and can now make nets out of twigs to catch fish. There is also the rattleback, a heavily armoured rodent which is somewhat fireproof, and lives on a diet of Carakiller eggs, grass stems, and tubers. The episode also shows the biggest danger to these animals - fire.The narrator explains that the Amazon died out because the annual rains failed to fall due to the second ice age. All monkeys died out, except the uakari, a social monkey that lives on the ground and in the trees. It has evolved into the babookari, a complete ground monkey. It catches fish by weaving a basket of twigs and dipping it into the water. They are attacked by carakillers, descendants of the caracara. The rattleback, descendant of the agouti eats carakiller eggs. The carakillers powerful beak can't destroy the rattlebacks armor. A prairie fire sends the babookari's running, which the carakillers take advantage of. They chase down and kill them. The rains come down and end the fire.
|5||"Cold Kansas Desert"||5 million years from now||April 30, 2002|
|The episode is set in North America, 5 million years into the future. The episode focusses on three species: (1) Deathgleaner, a massive carnivorous false vampire bat that spends the day hunting for prey in the desert and spends the night in a communal roost; (2) Spink, a descendant of the quail whose wings have become digging blades. The species lives much like the naked mole-rat of our time; (3) Desert Rattleback, a descendant of the agouti, when lives in the cold regions. The episode explains that the onset of the ice age caused the agricultural belt of the USA to turn into a desert where temperatures at night regularly reach freezing. The episode shows how the animals have evolved to cope with the harsh features of this forbidding landscape.|
|6||"Waterland"||100 million years from now||May 7, 2002|
|The episode is set in the Bay of Bengal, 100 million years into the future. The episode focuses on three species: (1) Toraton, a descendant of the giant tortoise and the largest creature ever to walk the Earth. They can weigh up to 120 tonnes; (2) Swampus, a descendant of the octopus which has formed a symbiotic relationship with a plant to house its young. They are very intelligent; (3) Lurkfish, a descedant of the electric catfish that can fire up to 1000 volts to stun prey. They are ambush predators. The episode shows that at this point of the future, volcanoes are belching out copious amounts of greenhouse gases causing the planet to overheat. It shows how swampus breed and how toraton have evolved to cope with their new size.|
|7||"Flooded World"||100 million years from now||May 14, 2002|
|The episode is set in shallow seas of the world, 100 million years into the future. The episode focuses on three species which all live together: (1) Ocean Phantom, a type of portuguese man-of-war that can grow to ten metres in diameter; (2) Reef Glider, a descendant of the sea slug which hunts ocean phantoms. The young, however, are prey to the ocean phantom; (3) Spindle Trooper, sea spiders that live in chambers on the ocean phantom and protect it from danger. The ocean phantom in return feeds it. This episode focuses on the extinction of the coral reefs and their replacement with red algae reefs. It shows how this food chain works and how the animals have evolved together. It also shows how ocean phantoms can be ripped apart by a severe storm but still carry on living.|
|8||"Tropical Antarctica"||100 million years from now||May 21, 2002|
|The episode is set in Antarctica, 100 million years into the future. The episode focuses on five species: (1) Roachcutter, a descendant of an undisclosed sea bird and one of the first species to colonise Antarctica. It feeds on the insects of the forest and flies incredibly fast and with brilliant agility; (2)Falconfly, a descendant of the wasp which preys on the Roachcutter and other birds; (3) Spitfire Bird, a descendant of an undisclosed sea bird which collects chemicals from flowers of the Spitfire tree which it then spits at enemies such as the Falconfly; (4) Spitfire Beetle, a beetle or mantis that gathers in groups of four to take on the appearance of a Spitfire flower; (5) False Spitfire Bird, an undisclosed sea bird that looks almost identical to the other spitfire bird but cannot fire chemicals. At this point in the future, Antarctica has moved so far north it is now on the equator and has grown a jungle. It shows how the seabirds have evolved to deal with the new dangers of the jungle. Oxygen levels have also allowed insects to grow big again.|
|9||"The Great Plateau"||100 million years from now||May 28, 2002|
The episode is set in a lofty plateau created by the collision of Australia (who moved northward) against Japan and Kamchatka (the Asian tectonic plate), 100 million years into the future. The episode focuses on four species: (1) Silver Spider, a descendant of our spiders, the silver spiders live in huge colonies and have a caste system based on the size of the animal. They build massive webs across canyons; (2) Poggle, a descendant of the hamster and the last species of mammal on Earth at this time, prey to silver spiders; (3) Great Blue Windrunner, a brilliant blue bird with wings on its legs which sees in ultraviolet and lives at the highest points on the plateau; (4) Grass Trees, Tree-like plants descended from bamboo.This episode shows how this bizarre food chain works. The silver spiders build massive webs across canyons which catch seeds from grass trees. These are then harvested by the spiders and taken to an underground cavern. In here, the Poggle hides and feeds on the seeds until they are killed and fed to the enormous queen. Great Blue Windrunners feed on the spiders that they pluck from the webs. At the end of the episode, we see the beginning of a mass extinction, which almost wipes the slate clean and allows evolution to start again.
|10||"The Endless Desert"||200 million years from now||June 4, 2002|
|The episode is set in the central desert of the new Pangea, 200 million years into the future. At this point in the future, there are no mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians. The episode focuses on four species: (1) Terabyte, descendants of termites that live in massive air-conditioned underground cities where they farm algae. Each termite is built for a specific role. There are transporters, glue-spitters, diggers and other types too, which form a caste system. (2) Gloomworm, a simple worm that is descended from a single type of bristleworm which survived the mass extinction. (3) Slickribbon, a transparent creature with pincer jaws and a nasty sting. It appears to be descended from the same bristleworm as the Gloomworm. (4) Garden Worm, a descendant of the convoluta worm, the garden worm houses green algae in fleshy lobes that stick out like leaves from their backs. The algae convert sunlight into food to feed their host. With no rainfall reaching the middle of the single continent, the whole place has dried up. Patches of water are rare and in demand. Many of the animals here live in underground lakes and caves to get away from the heat of the desert.|
|11||"The Global Ocean"||200 million years from now||June 11, 2002|
|The episode is set in the only ocean in the world, 200 million years into the future. At this point in the future, there are no mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians. The episode focusses on four species: (1) Rainbow Squid, a massive squid which changes colour to hide and which did not take to the land unlike some cephalopods; (2) Ocean Flish, descendants of cod which have evolved to breathe out of water and have developed wings; (3) Sharkopath, a descendant of sharks that have bioluminescent patches on their sides to communicate with one another; (4) Silverswimmer, descendants of crustaceans that have grown in size and evolved to fill the roles that fish previously held. There are many different species and they have different ways of life. Some are predators, some are prey and some are scavengers. Since all the land is joined together, much like Pangea, there is only one ocean now as well. Some views from space show the Earth as just a blue circle now. This episode shows how weird things have got and, no matter what happens, life will continue to thrive in the oceans.|
|12||"Graveyard Desert"||200 million years from now||June 18, 2002|
The episode is set in a rainshadow desert on the eastern side of Earth's only continent, 200 million years into the future. Wedged between this desert and the Global Ocean is a series of very tall mountain ranges (which are comparable to the Andes in today's world) which are tall enough to block even the most powerful storms. At this point in the future, there are no mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians. There are very few fish.
The episode focuses on five species: (1) Bumblebeetle, a species of beetle that has been pushed to the edge of specialisation. They spend their lives searching for dead flish which are a good food source for their young. (2) Desert Hopper, a bizarre rabbit-sized cone snail that hops about on one muscular foot. They tend to bury themselves during the heat of the day and only come out at the cool of the night. (3) Deathbottle, a carnivorous plant, that has traps to feed on the Desert Hoppers. (4) Ocean Flish, shown dead, animal from the previous episode. (5) Grimworm, a worm, live inside dead Ocean Flish body and scavanging it. They are the Bumblebeetle's larvae.The desert has little food so the animals here must make use of what they can find. During violent Hypercane, some ocean flish are thrown over the mountains and land in the dry desert where they die. Adult bumblebeetles spend their entire lives searching for these dead ocean flish so they can lay their larva in them. This episode talks how the deathbottle, a carnivorous plant that eats desert hoppers, breeds.
|13||"The Tentacled Forest"||200 million years from now||June 25, 2002|
The episode is set in the northern forest, 200 million years into the future. At this point in the future, there are no mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians. There are very few fish. The episode focuses on five species: (1) Lichen Trees, a group of species evolved from simple lichens. Some species are small bushes while others are giant tree like creatures. (2) Forest Flish, a smaller species of flish with hooks for feet so it can hang upside down on tree branches to rest. (3) Megasquid, an eight metre tall squid with rhino-like skin and three metre tentacles which patrols the forest. Its eight boneless legs are packed with muscles that act like bones. (4) Squibbon, an arboreal species of squid that swing through trees and have stereoscopic vision. The Squibbon could well be the next sapient life on the planet and create new civilization. (5) Slithersucker, an arboreal species of giant slime mold. Predatory by nature and reproduces by taking control of huge Megasquids.This forest is about the only place left on Earth where there is consistent rain and trees can grow. The trees here are lichen trees, descended from simple lichens that today grow on rocks. The forest is populated with a whole manner of creatures that would look out of place in our time. The episode shows how animals that were once aquatic have evolved to conquer the forests. It also suggests that the Squibbon could become the next species to develop sapience and become the dominant force on planet Earth, just like humans.
|Specials||"The Future Is Wild and the Making of Spore"||-||2008|
|This episode is a Discovery Channel special, made and broadcast in 2008 (6 years after the original series), about the development of the video game Spore, and was combined with airings of The Future is Wild.|