Here's an image of me in the submersible on The Great Barrier Reef!

You can join me on the Great Barrier Reef through an interactive journey.

Mobile version:

Proof it's me!

Update 1: David may be a little ahead of schedule, so start getting your questions in. He'll be here soon.

Update 2: OK, we're ready to go!

Update 3: Thank you for all your questions today. David has left now.

Comments: 2532 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

allyjhughes1612 karma

What is the most unexplainable phenomena that you have encountered within the natural world?

IamDavidAttenborough2771 karma

Migrations - global migrations.

Balts1156 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA Mr. Attenborough! Have you filmed any species during your career that are extinct/extinct in the wild today?

IamDavidAttenborough1826 karma

The panama golden frog. Amphibians are in trouble all over the world, but this particular frog has a very small area for its habitat, and is threatened by a fungus that is a threat to all frogs.

oncloudeightandahalf998 karma

For those of us who haven't yet seen the Great Barrier Reef has it been irrevocably damaged by pollution or is there hope of regeneration in the future? Thank you.

IamDavidAttenborough1849 karma

Oh yes, it can recover from pollution but it cannot recover from a major rise in temperature.

HollyHobbLe868 karma

What's the scariest thing that's happened to you on your adventures? Any strange animals you've come across?

IamDavidAttenborough1585 karma

I was charged by a rhino. As for the strangest, it's the duck billed platypus.

eagletigger5705 karma

Dear Sir David,

It is a huge honour for us all to be able to communicate with you through reddit- thank you so much for being such an incredible inspiration and pioneering conservationist.

My question is: What's your favourite fossil from your collection and why?

Many thanks for everything!

IamDavidAttenborough717 karma

A dermals scute, it’s an early fish from the go go formation. I daren’t tell you the real answer! :)

Arknell703 karma

Hi David! When it comes to Great Britain, what is your current favorite, most interesting animal of the british isles? Is it in need of conservation efforts?

IamDavidAttenborough1088 karma

The harvest mouse! The techniques of harvesting are very much against its breeding habits.

Balts531 karma

Mr. Attenborough, If you hadn't pursued a career in broadcasting, what would you have liked to do for a living?

IamDavidAttenborough1028 karma

I would liked to have been a non-fiction writer.

CasualCarrot493 karma

Hi Sir David, if you could be any animal what would it be and why?

On a more serious note you have been the biggest inspiration for me in my life and I can safely say you are one of the main reasons I have become a herpetologist.

So from the bottom of my heart thank you for your dedication to the natural world and educating humanity about its wonders.

IamDavidAttenborough795 karma

A sloth!

zy12470475 karma

Hi Sir Attenborough. How much of a role do you think cameramen play in documentary films?

IamDavidAttenborough970 karma

It's essential - they are about 90% of the production.

hazelbites423 karma

Have any political events ever got in the way of filming?

IamDavidAttenborough657 karma

Yes. In Central Africa and the Middle East.

TheGeorge364 karma

Would you like to go into space?

IamDavidAttenborough724 karma

No! :)

wiggaroo357 karma

Hello Mr Attenborough, you are my favourite person I've never met.

My question is what 3 things can humanity do to be better co-habitants of Earth with nature? I know there are more than 3, but what are the 3 most pressing things right now?

IamDavidAttenborough997 karma

We need to slow the speed of our population growth.

chrono1465355 karma

First, my sincere thanks for helping to bring the wonders of nature into the homes and minds of countless people across the globe.

Throughout your many interactions with animals in the wild, is there any one encounter that stands out as the most significant to you? Your encounter with this blind baby rhinoceross seemed particularly touching.

IamDavidAttenborough408 karma

The gorillas are particularly emotional, we filmed them in Rwanda.

UglyMuffins294 karma

If you had someone to narrate The Life of David Attenborough, who would you want?

IamDavidAttenborough406 karma

No answer! :)

innitgrand273 karma

Hi David! If you could know 1 thing about the earth, nature, life or the universe, what would you want to know?

IamDavidAttenborough855 karma

I would like to know, exactly how it began.

Balts266 karma

Good afternoon Mr. Attenborough, what is your favourite animal native to Britain?

IamDavidAttenborough976 karma

The harvest mouse.

Electricengineer219 karma

Are zoos still important?

IamDavidAttenborough551 karma

Yes. For our education, conservation and research but they must be well kept and preferably all their collection reproducing.

StringOfLights210 karma

In 2009 I went to a lecture of yours on Alfred Russel Wallace and birds of paradise. As a huge fan of both you and Wallace, it's one of my fondest memories.

What sparked your interest in Alfred Russel Wallace? What initially attracted you to The Malay Archipelago? Did that play any role in your decision to pursue the career you did?

Thank you!

IamDavidAttenborough227 karma

Reading the book of his adventure story. That’s how I first knew about him. It’s a small part of his book is about the birds of paradise.

suaveitguy181 karma

Do you enjoy non-nature documentaries? Anyone whose films or technique you admire in particular?

IamDavidAttenborough312 karma

I’m professionally interested in natural history documentaries, but they are also the documentaries I most enjoy watching.

MattDoogue167 karma

What's you favourite invert?

IamDavidAttenborough276 karma

The dragonfly.

ScreaminFalcon152 karma

What was it like working with Bjork? Really like the documentary you made with her, really dig Biophilia.

IamDavidAttenborough258 karma

I didn't see enough of her!

flossydame151 karma

Some say that the world's well meaning conservation efforts focused on large high profile animal species (pandas, tigers etc) are misguided, that they are destined for extinction anyway and we should instead turn our attention to the bottom of the food chain. Do you agree? (Adore you by the way)

IamDavidAttenborough606 karma

I think that the notion that conservation is restricted to single charismatic species is misguided. Our efforts should be turned not to single species but entire ecosystems.

drewcifer0148 karma

What was the most challenging location you ever went for a shoot? Would you go back?

IamDavidAttenborough321 karma

Trying to film the eruption of a volcano in what proved to cyclical rain squalls. There's a great deal of magnetic force from a volcano so there's a closed ecosystem meaning it rained about every 12 minutes. That was just the time it takes for the camera man to get his camera out and set up! One spec of volcano dust on the lens and we can't film. We did that about 8 times over about four hours!

TheGreatGrandy146 karma

Hello Sir, 😊 I am a great admirer of your works and the passion with which you present. First of all, I would like to thank you for filling my childhood with amazing documentaries, I am not exaggerating when I say that all of which had immense influence on how I percieve nature and its organisms. Life in the undergrowth is one of my favorite. My question to you is that given a chance which organism would you like to be if you could transform yourself??

IamDavidAttenborough241 karma

Thank you. I'd transform myself into a bird!

CFDgeek137 karma

Hi! I love your documentaries and really enjoyed listening to the audiobook of your autobiography. Thanks for teaching me so much about nature! Q1: Do you ever do public lectures at all, or are you too busy with TV commitments? Q2: I saw Zoo Quest for the first time a bit back on the BBC iPlayer and was surprised to see you eating the turtle eggs at the beach. With that in mind, are there things you've done in the past on film that you regret from a conservation stand-point?

IamDavidAttenborough305 karma

Yes, in the 1950s we collected animals for zoos which never bred, or were not likely to breed. And that I regret.

hazelbites127 karma

Are there any particular series or episodes you would remake with today's technology?

IamDavidAttenborough206 karma

Oh yes, some of the underwater and macro things we’ve shot. And of course capturing some of the nocturnal animals we couldn’t film at the time.

liamquane127 karma

What is your writing process like, do you plan methodically or just jump straight in? :~)

IamDavidAttenborough335 karma

Extremely painful and unproductive!


Mr. Attenborough, love watching all the documentaries you've narrated!

Last year saw one of my favorite animals, the Northern White Rhino, drop to 3 individuals left in the world. Are there any animals in danger of extinction that you feel deserves more attention?

IamDavidAttenborough250 karma

THere’s also the southern white rhino, so its not a huge loss. The bonobo is endangers and is worthy of more attention.

Paradoxfiasco125 karma

What is the most 'human' thing you have seen a non-human creature do?

IamDavidAttenborough328 karma

Monkeys playing tricks on each other. Also The orangutan seeing the magic trick is just fabulous. We can't be sure it's reaction is as we interpret it, you have to be very careful about interpreting gestures in human ways.

Moonburner111 karma

Sir Attenborough,

What do you feel has been your biggest personal sacrifice that you've made for your work?

Was it worth it? Thank you for efforts. The worlds is better for it.

IamDavidAttenborough261 karma

Being away whilst my children were developing through interesting stages.

raptorfarian106 karma

Which species in your opinion imploys the most miraculous innate hunting strategy?

IamDavidAttenborough226 karma

A spider!

Scrotums102 karma

Hi David, first and foremost sincere thanks for your life's work. I've grown up on your knowledge, experience and enthusiasm about the natural world and as I sat with my father to watch your shows now my sons sit with me sharing the same joy.

If you could click your fingers and make one thing happen what would it be?

IamDavidAttenborough266 karma

That human beings would recognise the importance of the natural world to themselves.

Lubbnetobb87 karma

If an alien attenborough were to make a series about humans. What would the title be?

IamDavidAttenborough347 karma

Et tu Brute.

Slackinetic86 karma

Where Darwin forever changed the scientific understanding of life on earth, you’ve captivated the world with your ability to share that understanding, and driven more young minds to a life of science than perhaps any other person on earth. Thank you for working for so many years to positively influence everyone’s appreciation and love of the natural world.

How do you feel about your lifetime of making documentaries? What projects have you wanted to do but couldn’t seem to get off the ground?

I’ve seen the vast majority of your videos, and you’re remarkably consistent in your storytelling. Are there any programs you’ve made that you’d like to go back and “fix”?

You’ve made hundreds of documentaries, some of which focus on specifics group of life. But of all your documentaries that open a world of understanding, the Life of Fungi have been tragically absent. The Private Life of Plants, Life in the Undergrowth, Life on Earth, and more touch on fungi, but don’t leave nearly as much time to the subject as it deserves. I would absolutely love to hear about this incredible world through the lens of your storytelling. Can I ask you to put this at the top of your list for your next big show? Pretty please?

IamDavidAttenborough336 karma

Thank you! I suggested a documentary on geology but it never got off the ground!

HDs4lyfe85 karma

Hello Sir David! I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the work that you've done. I really feel that my life has been deeply enriched by your films and writing, and I am so thankful that you have been so prolific! On the off chance you do see this, I was wondering if you have any specific environmental charities/non-profits that you think are doing particularly good work? I'd like to donate more, but there are so many organizations out there. Thanks! Rachel

IamDavidAttenborough110 karma

Thank you! I'm very interested in flora and fauna international, and the world land trust.

TimeBombCanarie68 karma

Just out of curiosity, were there any moments while you were in the Sub where it was entirely pitch-black? And if so, how did you feel when travelling that deep under the ocean?

Also, thank you for doing this AMA!

IamDavidAttenborough119 karma

At all times there was illumination inside the submersible, although sometimes we looked out into darkness on the reef. It was all very exciting.

drzoidbergwins68 karma

Mr. Attenborough!

How can I, as an average person, help in protecting the world's reefs?

IamDavidAttenborough176 karma

Unless you’re a visitor to the reef, by influencing international legislation.

ohbardwhy66 karma

What is the best thing about your job?

IamDavidAttenborough175 karma

Seeing the finished article for the first time.

tinkafuckingbell65 karma

What do you think about domesticating animals as a way to improve their chances of survival?

IamDavidAttenborough253 karma

When you domesticate an animal, you crucially change its character to make it more useful to human beings, so that animal has become a different one. I'm more interested in wild animals.

Jonsnowaintdead60 karma

Now that you have experience in a personal submarine do you have any inclination to use it to visit other underwater reefs, or to go to greater depths?

IamDavidAttenborough128 karma

The great place to go with the triton sub would be the deep water smokers, on the edge of the tectonic plates.

MattBaster56 karma

Sir David, your Tribal Eye series is one of my favorites and has demanded many repeat viewings over the years. What did you witness or experience during the production of that series that you wish you could have filmed & included, but couldn’t?
EDIT: Happy Cake Day!

IamDavidAttenborough81 karma

There were secret ceremonials in the Dogon in Mali that we failed to film...

orangejulius54 karma

What's your favorite kind of parrot and why?

IamDavidAttenborough90 karma

The hawk headed parrot from Guiana which I had as a pet whilst I was there.

k3v1ng199445 karma

Hello David,

What is a fun fact about yourself that nobody really knows about you?

IamDavidAttenborough132 karma

... I don't know about it... :P

IamDavidAttenborough124 karma

I don't know about it... :P

demonspawn7944 karma

Hello Mr. Attenborough,

What do you think the world will be like in 50 years? Do you think things will be generally better or worse than they are now?

IamDavidAttenborough131 karma

For the natural world...worse. Or for the non-human world, worse certainly. And the human one... probably.

bigbadbarl44 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA! I'm a big fan of your narration, and I was wondering if voice work (outside of news media) was something you were always interested in, or did it come more as a byproduct of your broadcasting career?

IamDavidAttenborough60 karma

It was purely a byproduct.

JackpineSavage41 karma

Hello sir. Thank you for doing this AMA. It's an honor speaking with you. How many animals have been named after you in some way? Which one is your favorite?

IamDavidAttenborough125 karma

There have been a number of species but only one genus that I know of - the Attenborosaurus, which is a pliosaurid. It hangs here in the Natural History Museum!

dorgoth1240 karma

You are undoubtedly my biggest inspiration as young conservationist so firstly thank you for all of your work. As BBC world programming has such a talented team with such a large budget (compared to purely scientific research), to what extent to do you think these kind of programmes benefit science and our overall knowledge?

IamDavidAttenborough60 karma

I don't think they benefit cutting edge research but they can benefit the community at large in explaining man's relationship with the natural world. I would be surprised if money spent on film making or bore any relationship to that spent on research - which is much greater.

lscritch37 karma

Do you think there is life elsewhere in the universe?

IamDavidAttenborough77 karma

Not that any human being is likely to contact. It's of no consequence them being outside of our ability to contact.

liamquane33 karma

What is it like working with 3D?

IamDavidAttenborough110 karma

Challenging but getting easier and easier. It's important to remember that the most interesting thing about any picture is its content.

Suggitt-thrash24 karma

To kind of subvert the usual questions, whats the most anti climactic thing you have ever seen?

IamDavidAttenborough51 karma

London fog!

benjaminhollis9 karma

Dear Sir Attenborough,
As a former science educator and someone who has had a lifelong interest in learning about our planet, you're work has added immeasurable knowledge, inspiration, and enjoyment to my life and that of my students. I'm certain I am one of many for whom this is the case. Thank you for everything you've done and continue to do to share your passion and knowledge for our planet and the things we share it with.

As for a question...Where do you stand on the idea of terraforming Mars? Is this something you see inherent value in doing if the right people and plan were involved?

IamDavidAttenborough6 karma

Oh! No, I shouldn’t think so! :)

liamquane3 karma

How much of a change has digital photography made to your film-making process?

IamDavidAttenborough4 karma

A huge change. Not simply versatility or cost but being able to see your results so quickly has made a big difference.

RandomSnoozyPerson2 karma

Hello David Attenborough! thanks for doing this ama and for this amazing interactive look at the great barrier reef.

  • Since your documentaries are broadcast around the world, do you get to view stuff from other countries, and what trends have you noticed in wildlife documentaries around the world.

  • How optimistic are you about the recent Paris agreement and other things that seem to show that states are starting to take some kind of meaningful action. Do you think it will be too little too late?

  • Something I don't understand about climate change and the great barrier reef, since coral has been around for tens of millions of years and there have been times when the ocean has been warmer and more acid than it is today (and projected to be in the future), why is coral bleaching caused by a warmer/more acid ocean such a threat today. Is it because of the speed of warming/acidification or it in combination with other things?

IamDavidAttenborough3 karma

The human race has never agreed about anything universally and to expect it to do so now is extremely optimistic but there is more signs of an agreement about the dangers facing us now than there has been ever before.

raptorfarian2 karma

If you could travel back in time to any period in the Earth's history where and when would you travel to?

IamDavidAttenborough3 karma

The middle cretacious to the climax of the dinosaur period just to see how they lived. I wouldn't survive it if I had arrived to see their extinction.

secondpwn12 karma

What was exploring the reef in a submarine like? And was there anything that still blew your mind?

IamDavidAttenborough5 karma

The privilege of being able to look without having concern about your own survival was great!