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NG Weekend: Looming Lizard Extinctions


This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about the oceans, gorillas, Cleopatra, girlfriend getaways, giant squid, dodo DNA, Indian tigers, lizard extinctions, and the life and times of a CIA agent turned Buddhist priest.

Hour 1

  • Six-time National Geographic Expeditions Council grantee Jon Bowermaster is the editor of a new book, Oceans: The Threats to Our Seas and What You Can Do to Turn the Tide. The book is a companion guide to the new Disneynature film Oceans. Bowermaster joins Boyd in the studio to talk about the essays in the book and his travels across the world’s oceans.
  • Jan Ramer is Regional Veterinary Manager for the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, working on the ground in Rwanda to make house calls on sick or injured gorillas. Ramer joins Boyd to talk about her work.
  • The world of Cleopatra has been lost to the sea and sand for nearly 2,000 years. But it’s about to surface in the new National Geographic exhibition “Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt.” Kathryn Keane, director of National Geographic traveling exhibitions, joins Boyd in the studio to talk about the exhibit, which opens in Philadelphia June 6.
  • National Geographic has just released the second edition of Marybeth Bond’s book 50 Best Girlfriends Getaways in North America. Bond joins Boyd in the studio to talk about the benefits of a trip with the girls—for women and men.
  • Is the giant squid a fierce monster of the deep or a drifting, gelatinous blob? David Braun, head of National Geographic News, has the answer.

Hour 2

  • 2010 National Geographic Emerging Explorer Beth Shapiro travels through time, observing mammoths, dodos and other extinct animals. Shapiro joins Boyd in the studio to tell him what she’s learning from dodo DNA.
  • Peter Matthiessen is a two-time National Book Award-winning author, a former CIA employee, co-founder of the Paris Review, and a Buddhist priest. Matthiessen talks with Boyd about his life and work. (Get Matthiessen’s book The Snow Leopard.)
  • Ullas Karanth, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society in India, joins Boyd to talk about the crisis facing tigers in that country. Karanth and Boyd discuss ways to prevent the extinction of this majestic cat.
  • Twenty percent of all lizard species could go extinct by 2080, according to Barry Sinervo, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a National Geographic grantee. Sinervo tells Boyd what this looming crisis could mean for the world’s ecosystems.
  • Boyd plays Name That Tune with National Geographic Weekend listeners.

Hear National Geographic Weekend on XM/Sirius satellite radio (XM channel 133 Sundays at noon), subscribe to the iTunes podcast, or get the show streamed to your iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, or Android OS phone with Stitcher Radio.

Photograph courtesy Ignacio de la Riva


  1. Lynell
    August 5, 2013, 10:17 pm

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  2. detered
    July 15, 2010, 10:01 am

    A serious topic and one that needs to be highlighted more often.