Viewers will be warned of graphic imagery in Animal Autopsy
Scientists will dissect animals on television for the first time in a new programme for Channel 4.
An elephant, giraffe, crocodile and whale will each be cut open on screen by an expert on the species.
The programme is being made in co-operation with the Royal Veterinary College and biologist Richard Dawkins will provide scientific context.
Channel 4 screened the first human autopsy in 2002. The new programme is part of their spring and summer season.
The whale on the dissection table died after washing up on a beach in County Cork in the Irish Republic. The other animals were all sent to the Royal Veterinary College for post-mortem by European zoos.
The four programmes will go out after the 9pm watershed and the audience will be warned that some of the images are graphic.
David Glover, the channel's commissioning editor for science explained the purpose of the programme: "Traditional wildlife films tell you how animals behave but stop short of revealing the changes that have taken place inside their bodies to allow that behaviour in the first place."
Other new programmes for 2009 include a chat show for Alan Carr and actor Rupert Everett's take on Lord Byron.
The channel also revealed a series of programmes on children in care.
The centrepiece of the Britain's Forgotten Children season will be Adopt Me, which follows families trying to adopt unwanted children.
Actress Samantha Morton will make her directorial debut for a drama called The Unloved, which follows a girl growing up in a children's home.
Head of Channel 4 Julian Bellamy said that their plans for new drama had had to be scaled back for budget reasons.
However Julie Walters is confirmed to play the late Mo Mowlam in a one-off drama about the popular former Northern Ireland secretary. The programme will be filmed over summer to be broadcast next year.