Photo Gallery: Ridiculously Good Photography of LIFE in All Its Glory

By Eliza Strickland | March 26, 2010 8:05 am

Life: Ain’t it grand?

That seems to have been the starting point for the new nature documentary series LIFE, which spotlights some of the planet’s most gloriously unusual critters. The series, which airs on Sunday evenings on the Discovery Channel, presents animals that belong in the evolution hall of fame. Many have developed remarkable tricks to survive in inhospitable environments, while others have developed fascinating mating rituals that ensure that the fittest individuals pass on their genes, generation after generation.

Click through the gallery for some of our favorite hall-of-famers from the show.

A Restless Trail-Runner


Size does matter, especially for the tiny rufous sengi, an “elephant shrew” whose small size and constant movement makes it hungry—all the time! But movement in a forest full of predators is dangerous, so the sengi devised a clever method to forage for food.

The tiny mammal constructs a series of neatly cleared trails between its regular feeding spots and memorizes their details. Then it launches itself on a trail patrol at breakneck speed, stopping only to check for tasty insects and to clear the trail of any debris. A single twig can be fatal, so the sengi spends up to 40 percent of its time running the trails and clearing away obstacles.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Photo Gallery
  • Dennis

    How someone manages to snap a photo like this blows my mind!
    The depth of field is razor thin, the critter is in motion (most likely quite rapid motion), running straight at the camera and yet the eyes are in perfect, tack-sharp focus!
    I’m a beginner, aspiring wildlife photographer, and for me, achieving this even with a stationary subject can be a challenge.

    edit: this comment refers to the first photo, of the elephant shrew.

  • Tom

    These are simply amazing pictures. What a world to live in!

  • Richard D. Stacy

    “80beats” is an amazingly wonderful website.

  • nick

    WOW that komodo dragon has some truly epic drool going on.

    re: Dennis: my guess would be a high speed camera tripped when the shrew is heading in, then hundreds of frame gathered in the few seconds it takes to pass, ensuring that it will be in focus when passing through the shallow depth of field required to take such high speed shots with no flash. (shallow depth of field = larger aperture = more light let in at once)

    The flamingos sound like they throw a rave to hook up with their mates.

  • Daniel J. Andrews

    The Trials of Life (Sir David Attenborough) has the elephant shrew careening along runways in episode 5, Finding the Way, around minute 12. They too have low angle cameras and excellent footage of the little critter.

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