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Willow the White Whale

Above video from Barcroft TV. Like a scene from Moby Dick, a rare white whale was spotted off the coast of Spitsbergen in Norway by maritime engineer Dan Fisher of the UK. Swimming alongside a pod of other, regular grey humpback whales, this whale likely has a condition called leucism, which causes a reduction in…

September 16, 2012: Earth’s Earliest Mummies in Peru, Glacial Lakes on Mountaintops, and More

This week on “National Geographic Weekend,” join host Boyd Matson as we dodge cannibals in Indonesia, dodge polar bears while digging up dinosaur bones, educate the country’s future leaders, laugh along with hyenas in South Africa, climb mountains to save people living under glacial lakes, fight over the Ganges’ erosion in India, explore Peru’s national forests for new species, and photograph all of the units of America’s National Park System.

Sea Monsters of the North: Day 11-Skull Discovered at Last!

After a week of digging through frozen mud and rock at the top of the world, the team comes through with their biggest find yet: their first ever skull of a Loch Ness Monster-type plesiosaur.

Sea Monsters of the North: Day 10-Welcoming Tourists to the Site

After all of yesterday’s miserable weather and hard work, no one was rushing out of bed today. The clouds parted however, and an enthusiastic group of tourists came by to see the site.

Sea Monsters of the North: Day 9

Terrible weather moves in on the excavation team, obscuring the mountainside in fog, and drenching everyone to the bone. And speaking of bones, the search for the animal’s skull continues.

Sea Monsters of the North: Day 8

You would have thought the prospect of moving tons of waterlogged permafrost, hour after hour after hour, would make people sneak out the back door. But with the chance of the team finding our first ever plesiosaur skull, people are jumping at the chance to dig.

Sea Monsters of the North: Day 7

The head of the plesiosaur remains hidden, but progress is made in the final days of the Spitsbergen expedition.

Sea Monsters of the North: Day 6–Mountain vs. Chainsaw

With the prospect of finding their first ever plesiosaur skull, the team brings out chainsaws and pickaxes to carve away the rock and dirt above the spot where the animal’s neck disappears into the mountainside.

Sea Monsters of the North: Day 5

Moving to a new vantage point, Jørn and the team set their sights to find more ancient remains and come up with two almost instantly.

Sea Monsters of the North: Day 2

The search for sea monster fossils in the frozen north continues, and in a matter of hours the team has found more specimens than the rest of the world will find in the next couple of years.

Sea Monsters of the North: Day 1

2011 Emerging Explorer Jørn Hurum is currently on Spitsbergen Island in the Arctic Circle excavating the remains of ancient marine reptiles worthy of the most fantastic Norse legends.

Banking Seeds for Doomsday

In these times of tumultuous weather patterns and no certainty about the future stability of Earth’s climate as civilization has known it, it’s reassuring that a significant portion of the planet’s legacy of plant diversity has been stashed for safekeeping deep inside an Arctic mountain.

Witnessing Change and Searching for Wilderness: Circumnavigating the Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic Circle

In August 2008, I was fortunate enough to join an expedition ship on a circumnavigation of the Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic Circle, going as far north as 81⁰N. I was on a personal mission to experience and celebrate this Arctic wilderness. Life on a grand scale in this far away place of rock and ice.…

National Geographic Launches Global Exploration Fund

“There is still so much to explore and discover about our planet,” National Geographic Executive Vice President for Mission Programs, Terry Garcia, said today at the launch of National Geographic’s new Global Exploration Fund. “We are at the beginning of our greatest age of exploration.”

Spitsbergen Expedition: Grand Finale

After two weeks excavating ancient “sea monster” fossils above the Arctic Circle, NG Emerging Explorer Jørn Hurum and his team pull one last set of bones from the Earth and bid farewell to a site like none other.