Episode available within Canada only. Click on image to play the video.
Photo: Steve Axford

Hidden from sight is a kingdom that rules life on land. It’s an alien world with the largest and oldest organisms alive today. It is the 5th Kingdom of fungi.  

“When we think about the evolution of life on earth, what allowed plants to move out of the sea and to have roots for the first time is fungi. And it’s fungi that services those roots as plants crept from that edge into what we now think of as that normal place that we all live.” Rob Dunn   

 Neither plant nor animal, fungi have been around since the dawn of life. It was fungi that made life possible on a barren planet.  They ate rocks which made soil that allowed plants to colonize land. That changed the climate sparking the evolution of animals. It was fungi that inherited the world after the last mass extinction event and brought life back on Earth. Fungi even paved the way for civilization — they have made us who we are.  

"Fungi have a billion years of experience in doing the hard work of living.” Rob Dunn

Unlike plants, fungi don’t live on sunshine and air; they devour tissues, alive or dead. With powerful enzymes, fungi break down and digest things nothing else can. Their untapped powers could help our species to survive in our increasingly poisoned, depleted and warming planet. Fungi are nature's grand survivors, the most resourceful and successful of life forms. 

FROM THE FILM: What are fungi?

“Fungi are absolutely remarkable chemists. They make molecules that are frankly impossible for us to replicate in the lab” - Prof. Gerry Wright

MORE:
Fungi Paved The Way For Humans To Evolve In The Aftermath Of A Deadly Asteroid Strike
Photographer Steve Axford Documents The Beauty of Fungi
This Bizarre Stinkforn Fungi Uses Its Foul Smelling Slime To Reproduce

In THE KINGDOM – HOW FUNGI MADE OUR WORLD reveals how fungi eked out life from barren rocks in hostile conditions and thrived despite facing the fiercest wars of Nature. Understanding how fungi survive the continuous onslaught of a microcosmos of voracious worms, predatory amoebas, bacteria, viruses and other fungi, novel drugs could be within our grasp. Fungi are being tested to treat cancer, Alzheimer disease, existential anxiety, depression and the next generation antibiotics. By looking at fungi in the context of evolution and natural history, scientists are making discoveries that will change our lives. Some fungi will save us, others will threaten us and we are just beginning to understand which is which.

THE KINGDOM – HOW FUNGI MADE OUR WORLD is a fascinating exploration of a spectacular yet little-known world with a series of pay-offs that can change our lives and future for better. This is natural history that matters. 

Credits (Click to expand)

Directed & Written by
Annamaria Talas
Simon Nasht 

Producers
Susan MacKinnon
Anne Pick
Bill Spahic

Editor
Nora V. Kovacs

Original Score by
Mark Korven

Director of Photography
Oliver Nasht
Russell Gienapp
Walter Corbett

Specialist Photography - Time Lapses and Stills
Steve Axford

CGI/ Animation
Mark Alberts, Electric Square
Llaszlo Kiss

Script Collaboration
& additional narration writing
Anne Pick

Story Editor
Bill Spahic

Additonal Editing
Rob Ruzic

Field Sound Recordists
David Best
Oliver Nasht
Peter Sawade

Research & Clearances
Gina Cali
Isabella Kempf
Anne Pick

Drone Photography
Matt Jones


Production Co-ordinators
Isabella Kempf
Amber McBride

Camera Assistant/ Data Wrangler (Nth America)
Glenn Graver

Production Manager
Sharyn McMahon

Post Production Supervisors
Graham Saywell
Bill Spahic

Sound Editor
Grant Edmonds

Colour Grading/Online
Arlene Moelker
Terry Aquino

Post Picture & Sound
ZIGZAG Post
Creative Post
Dark Studio Sound Company
Power of Babel
Sound Kitchen Studios

Original Concept
Catherine Marciniak and Stephen Axford

With Thanks to
The City of London Corporation, Epping Forest
Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina
Nature Research Center, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Smithsonian Institution
Binghamton Paleobotany Collections, NY
New York State Museum, Albany
Parc National de Miguasha
Natural Resources, Canada
Maryland Zoo
Royal Botanical Garden, Kew
Heritage Forest Park, Town of Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island
Rathtrevor Beach, Little Qualicum Falls,
& MacMillan Provincial Parks, British Columbia Canada
University of British Columbia, School of Population & Public Health
Michael DeGroote Institute of Infectious Disease, McMaster University
Wade Abbott, Lethbridge Research and Development Centre, Agriculture & Agri Food Canada,
Anne Baker & Venessa Fischer

Archival Stills & Footage courtesy of
A+E Networks
Curiosity Stream
3hund
Arcimedia
Pond 5
Peter Beeh
Getty Images
Dr. Patrick Hickey
National Geographic Creative
Pennsylvania Game and Conservation Commission
Matthew Hood
CHEK TV, Victoria
A Channel, Victoria
Nicolay Lariontsev, miCra TV
Mark Wyatt Visuals
Stefan Forster
Profilm, Iceland
Shutterstock
Smith & Nasht
Alvaro Mendoza Productions 
ZED/Essential Media

Executive Producers
Anne Pick
Simon Nasht
 

The Wild Canadian Year

Wild Canadian Year


Visit our website to watch the series online, discover extra behind-the-scenes stories and view Canada's nature scenes in 360. Visit Wild Canadian Year

From CBC Kids

The Nature of Thingies