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Category archives for Science

Climate, and the Dividing Line Between Forest and Tundra

In northern Alaska’s Brooks Range, the earth as most of us know it comes to an end. From Fairbanks, the northernmost city on the North American road grid, drive up the graveled Dalton Highway. Unpeopled boreal forest stretches in all directions. About 200 miles on, you pass the arctic circle, beyond which the sun never sets in midsummer, nor rises in midwinter.…

New Holiday Drone Show: 4 Billion Color Combinations will Light Up the Sky

The latest in the Drones and Small Unmanned Aerial Systems Special Series, in which Kike profiles interesting information, research and thoughts on using drones, UAVs and remotely piloted vehicles for journalism and photography. Intel and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced yesterday they are collaborating on a spectacular new holiday experience that premieres on November 20 at the Walt…

Living in the Shadow of Fracking

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic Voices blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. Photos by iLCP Fellow Garth Lenz and Karen Kasmauski Text by iLCP Affiliate Mary Greene from the Environmental Integrity Project McDonald, Pa. — Jane…

Where I Was When I Heard the News

My surreal experience of Donald Trump’s election, far away from America When Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States, I was sitting in a tin-roofed, dirt-floored cafe on the shore of Lake Victoria, in a bustling Kenyan fishing village called Usenge, waiting for a ferry and watching the sun rise. It should…

Big, Bad Challenges for Spain’s Rebounding Wolves

Ever since I came face-to-face with a pack of wolves in rural Indiana, they’ve had a special place in my heart. At one wolf sanctuary, I was allowed up-close access. For the first time, I was able to feel their coarse fur and look into their deep, inquisitive eyes. These were not dogs. There was no immediate trust … it had to be earned.

The Lost History of South Africa

The strange creature is half antelope and half bird. Painted in jet black, frozen in flight on the wall, the animal has the hind legs and tail of a buck, and the magnificent wings of a raven that spread out from its shoulders. Above the flying figure, a long scaly reptile with crocodile-like ridges stretches…

All Plants Are Medicine; We Just Need To (re)Learn How

“All plants are medicine,” Dr. Jeetpal Negi, the herbal gardener at Navdanya, exclaims proudly with a hint of mystery to his voice. Dr. Negi bends down to examine a seemingly mundane but prolific weed, “this is used for eye health,” he says before popping the small white diamond-shape flower in his mouth. He stretches above his…

Giant Underwater Cave Was Hiding Oldest Human Skeleton in the Americas

In a pitch black, 140-foot-deep underwater cave, three divers make a stunning 13,000-year-old discovery: the oldest complete human skeleton ever found in the Americas. In this video, see the ancient remains, venture through the remarkable deep-water chamber, and see how a skeleton belonging to a teenage girl from the last ice age lead scientists to a major revelation about the earliest Americans.

Lessons learned in tropical tree climbing

Oh yeah, I forgot about that… The beginning of any field study includes at least a few remedial lessons. For weeks before I start climbing, I wake up in the middle of the night in a panic that I have forgotten all my knots. I look over old gear lists trying to figure out what…

Tracing the Global Invasion of Brown Rats

Brown rats are found throughout the world, on its continents and islands, affecting human health and biodiversity, but where did they originally come from? Researchers this month sought to answer that question when they released a global phylogeography of brown rats from cities and islands around the world.

The Legendary Gem Mines of Mogok Myanmar (Burma): Is Responsible Sourcing Possible Beyond Sanctions?

Almost five years ago, I invited two eminent gemologists to post their perspectives on linking environmental conservation and gemstone mining through an innovative mechanism of supply chain tracing. In this post, Dr. Laurent Cartier, one of the authors of the earlier article, shares perspectives on how the colored gemstone sector in post-sanctions Myanmar / Burma…

Tracking the World’s Largest Land Crab

Coconut crabs must be handled with extreme care; they have two powerful claws that can easily crush bone. I have previously studied red king crab and snow crab in Alaska, but coconut crabs are in a league of their own in terms of brute strength.

Saving Rice in Pictures

Not pictured: the dozens of hands cutting, sorting and hauling rice. The sweat-soaked saris and brows. The awe of witnessing the preservation of biodiversity.      

The Passing of a Titan

Contrary to popular belief, mountain lions are not all the same. They are as distinctive in personality as we are. Some are bold, others stick to the shadows. Some are social, others avoid interactions. Some hunt elk, some prefer smaller fare. Some are productive, successful mothers that rear numerous kittens to young adults, and others…

The legend of Babakoto

Safina Center Fellow Ben Mirin travels to the rainforests of Andasibe, Madagascar, and learns the legend of Babakoto…the indri lemur.