Today, David Attenborough turns 89, and he's showing no signs of slowing down as the king of nature documentary narration. To celebrate Attenborough's birthday, we've put together a short script we hope he might take the time to record and send back to us. (We're assuming the BBC checks our site regularly, if only to see how we're liking Inspector George Gently.)
The moon shines brightly over the marshy banks of Baton Rouge. For many creatures, it is time to burrow and hide from the apex predator of the Louisiana wilds: Tyrfratosaurus Rex.
He feeds at night, but he is not alone. Unlike other predators, the Rex feeds in crowds, relying on the lessons of years of evolution to find his prey. Rather than chase his prey, he waits for them to come to him. Often drunk from a day's feasting, they cannot escape, too sluggish to fight.
...too stunned by the sun to recognize the threat walking among them.
But this Rex is on the hunt for something other than dinner: a mate.
Mating in the species is a rapid process, quick by almost any standard. The act itself is brief, often little more than a brief, festive tussle in the woods. It averages somewhere between one and four minutes -- a mere misplaced prologue to this opera, nature's endnote to a spectacular rite of foreplay the Bird of Paradise would consider impressive. Nature herself would admit: the Tyrfratosaurus' mating ritual is a magnificent work of art in need of a stern edit.
Still: what majesty! Displaying his colors and reversing his decorative sun-shielding frill, he declares his intentions in dress, but also in gesture. As his forebears have for centuries, he transforms himself into a physical question: who will join? The answer, he hopes, awaits in the herd.
He puts on a lively show, displaying his agility and rhythm. But the females in the herd do not respond to his routine. They've spotted another male, and his display is simply...