First Life follows David Attenborough on a journey to unconver some of the origins of life on Earth. He investigates the evidence from the earliest fossils, which suggest that complex animals first appeared in the oceans around 500 million years ago, an event known as the Cambrian Explosion. Trace fossils of multicellular organisms from an even earlier period, the Ediacaran biota, are also examined. Attenborough then travels to Canada, Morocco and Australia, using some of the latest fossil discoveries and their nearest equivalents amongst living species to reveal what life may have been like at that time.
Part one begins in a forest near Leicester, UK, where a fossil discovery transformed our understanding of the evolution of complex life. Travelling to the fog bound coastline of Newfoundland and the Australian outback, Attenborough unearths the earliest forms of animal life to exist on Earth.
Part two continues in Canada’s Rocky Mountains, where fossils document an explosion in animal diversity never seen before or since. Travelling from there to North Africa, the rainforests of Australia and the east coast of Scotland, Attenborough discovers how animals evolved to conquer not only the oceans but also the land and air.