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Threads That Speak: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Inca

One of the great mysteries of ancient Peru is that the Inca did not have a system of writing, but communicated with a system of strings tied with knots. For the first time, centuries-old knotted textile accounting records known as quipus were found buried with well-preserved organic material. They were found at the archaeological site of Incahuasi, the base of operations for the Inca expansion along Peru’s southern coast.

This Peruvian Beach Town Has 3,500 Years of Cultural Continuity

Archaeologist and National Geographic explorer Gabriel Prieto returned to his hometown of Huanchaco, Peru to tell the story of its 3,500 years of cultural continuity and involve the local community in discovering their past.

Climbers Try Biking—Wipeout Ensues

As part of an effort to climb 45 iconic rock towers, world-renowned climbers Cedar Wright and Alex Honnold attempt to bike across the desert. They do not come out unscathed.

Best Job Ever: Mapping “California’s Galápagos”

Cartographers and National Geographic grantees Marty Schnure and Ross Donihue traveled to the little-known Farallon National Wildlife Refuge to document the scientists who live there and to create an interactive digital map to allow the public to explore the islands from afar. The Farallon National Wildlife Refuge is closed to public access to protect this…

World’s Largest Fish and One Tiny Island: Studying Whale Sharks on St. Helena Island

Dr. Alistair Dove, director of research and conservation at Georgia Aquarium recounts his recent expedition to St. Helena Island studying the world’s largest fish – whale sharks. Approximately 2,500 miles east of Rio de Janeiro and just over 1,200 miles west of the African country of Angola, lies St. Helena Island: one of the most…

Best Job Ever: Conquering the World’s Largest Glaciers

“For me, it’s definitely worthwhile to live shorter, but intense,” says Vincent Colliard, a young explorer joining renowned polar explorer Børge Ousland in an endeavor to cross the world’s 20 largest glaciers. The ambitious 10-year journey is part of an effort to document climate change, an important mission for sure but one that regularly places the explorers in the path of danger.

Best Job Ever: Exploring Super-Remote Caves in Greenland

Geologist Gina Moseley started caving for sport when she was 13 years old, and now she’s in it for science. Moseley is constructing the first cave-based record of past climate change for Greenland.

Close Encounter with a Polar Bear

After photographer Cory Richards joined the Pristine Seas expedition to Franz Josef Land in the Russian Arctic, he spent over a month trying to capture an image of a polar bear from a relatively close distance. On his final attempt, a teammate launched a remote-controlled quadcopter, or drone, and the polar bear ended up right where they wanted him.

Exploring Toxic Ice Caves in an Active Volcano

National Geographic grantee Eduardo Cartaya and his team descend into a volcano’s toxic ice caves on a mission to protect climbers and learn about microbial life in this eerie, otherworldly environment.

Video From a Whale Shark’s Point of View

Engineer Graham Wilhelm joined National Geographic Emerging Explorer Brad Norman on an expedition in Australia to put Crittercams on massive whale sharks.

Engineer Builds Drone From Scratch, Destroys It on First Day

Today it’s easy to buy a drone that is flyable right off the shelf and start shooting aerial footage. Just three years ago, that wasn’t the case. National Geographic’s Alan Turchik built a custom drone from scratch to take on his first major expedition to the legendary Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific…and things went badly.

The Río Marañón Is Moving: Dam Construction in a Volatile Landscape

Explorers launched a raft expedition in Peru to collect data on the Río Marañón, the headwater stem to the Amazon River. The river is under threat of 2 approved dams and almost 20 more proposed dams. The team faced class V rapids and landslides to collect baseline data along the river corridor prior to dam construction.

WATCH: Billions of Bugs Feast on Flesh and Dung in Borneo

Just in time for Halloween, follow cave ecologist and National Geographic grantee Donald McFarlane through Borneo’s “Cockroach Cave,” where every surface vibrates with cockroaches and other guano-grubbing and flesh-feasting creepy-crawlies.

Huge Whip Spiders Wear Nail Polish for Science

Behavioral neuroscientist and National Geographic grantee Verner Bingman catches huge whip spiders by hand and outfits them with radio transmitters and … nail polish? The mix of highly technical tools and beauty products helps Bingman study the nightmarish-looking creature’s impressive navigational skills, which are unprecedented in invertebrates.

An Oysterman Hero in Apalachicola

On day 44, the Glades to Gulf expedition had an opportunity to spend a day with third-generation Apalachicola oysterman, Kendall Schoelles, who gives hope that the oyster fishery and lifestyle can still be saved.