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Alex Trebek hosts the 24th annual geography bee, which features students in Grades 4-8 competing for college-scholarship money. The 2016 National Geographic BeeThe annual National Geographic Bee returns for the 28th consecutive year, with fourth- to eighth-graders, all winners of their state-level geographic bees, vying for the Bee crown and the top prize of a $50,000 college scholarship plus lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. In an effort to broaden my knowledge, I jumped at the chance to be among the first to welcome our gecko guests to their temporary home here at the National Geographic Museum.
Colin Walker is one of two Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland zookeepers responsible for tending the geckos during their stay at our headquarters.
Colin, whose specialty back at Reptiland is alligators and crocodiles, told me the tokay is the most vicious reptile he’s ever handled. Exhibition visitors will get to see these vicious tokay predators in action every half hour when Colin drops a live cricket into their enclosure. Geckos: Tails to Toepads opens tomorrow and will remain here at the National Geographic Museum through January 5, 2011.
National Geographic VoicesResearchers, conservationists, and others around the world share stories and commentary on the National Geographic Society's conversation platform Voices. Society Field Inspection 2016: Gulf of CaliforniaDescribed by Jacques Cousteau as the "aquarium of the world," the Gulf of California in Mexico is threatened by coastal development, climate change, and other human activities.
Support National GeographicWe've supported more than 11,000 grants to scientists and others in the field.Learn more about our work. Two years after being discovered deep in a South African cave, the 1,500 fossils excavated during the Rising Star Expedition have been identified as belonging to a previously unknown early human relative that National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger and team have named Homo naledi.
With at least 15 individuals of all ages and both sexes represented, the find adds an unprecedented amount of information to our understanding of early human evolution in Africa. In addition, the absence of any other animal remains or large debris in the fossil chamber strongly suggests that these non-human beings intentionally deposited their dead within this cave.
Glittering or flashing seas have long been linked to marine microbesa€”and now scientists think they know how the life-forms create light.
Pinpricks of light on the shore seem to mirror stars above in an undated picture taken on Vaadhoo Island in the Maldives. Bioluminescent phytoplankton light up rolling surf during a so-called red tide event along the coast of Leucadia, California, in September 2011. Sand along a beach in the Florida Everglades glows with a soft blue light emitted by countless microscopic phytoplankton washed ashore.Similar phytoplankton are found in lakes, but they aren't bioluminescent.
Bioluminescent phytoplankton give the incoming surf an electric blue glow along a beach in Leucadia, California, in September 2011.Some dinoflagellates can produce toxins that are harmful to fish, humans, and other creatures. Glowing phytoplankton create clusters and filaments of light as they wash ashore in an undated photograph taken from the Lakshadweep Islands off India.Harvard's Hastings, who has spent his life studying marine bioluminescence, encourages people to go out to a beach at night to witness the living light show for themselves. Peek at Jupiter through binoculars and you should also see its icy moon Europa, thought to host a global ocean that may support life.

Mountain lions and ants are among the many species great and small figuring out clever ways to live among people. From the marvellous spatuletail to a flightless parrot, see 12 award-winning pictures of birds most in danger of extinction. This "touching image" of two orange-bellied parrots won the category for critically endangered migrating birds, according to a World's Rarest Birds contest statement.The small parrot breeds only in southwestern Tasmania (see map) and migrates to southeastern Australia in the winter, where agriculture and development are crowding out its habitat.
A "superb study" of a palila in Hawaii received sixth place in the "critically endangered or extinct in the wild" category, according to a World's Rarest Birds contest statement.Habitat loss, cat predation, and drought have contributed to the species' ongoing decline in its native Hawaii.
The third place winner in the "endangered or data deficient" category is a picture of Peru's marvellous spatuletail.
Though often called the koala "bear," this cuddly animal is not a bear at all; it is a marsupial, or pouched mammal. The loss of animal species is irreversible and potentially catastrophic, not to mention heartrendingly sad. Find out what National Geographic Society is doing to save animals all over the world, and learn what you can do to help.
The Aral Sea dried up over several decades, leaving behind grounded ships, crumbling buildings, and starving people. Cows sit in the shade of grounded ships on the bottom of what was once the Sary Shaganak Gulf in the Aral Sea, in a photo taken in August of 2005.In the 1960s, Aral Sea fishing was big businessa€”ships like these brought in 50,000 tons of fish a year. The North Aral Sea and the western lobe of the South Aral Sea are visible in this photo from NASA's MODIS satellite, taken in August of 2009. A fisherman holds part of his catch near Tastubek, on the North Aral Sea in Kazakhstan in August of 2005. A mummified carp (or sazan) sits on the seabed near the former Barsekelmes Island in Kazakhstan in a photo from August 2005.The island was a nature preserve before the sea dried up.
Tim Laman and Cheryl Knott, who have dedicated their lives to studying the great ape, talk about their new show on Nat Geo WILD. The endangered El Segundo blue feels right at home amid the wilderness of concrete that is the nation's third-busiest airport. I got the inside scoop on their characteristics and behavior … and what I learned could give a person nightmares. When he pulled this particular male out of the display case, the little guy made some mean sneezing sounds before opening his jaw in a futile attempt to get a bite of something nearby (Colin’s arm, say, or my face). Other geckos in the exhibit will have to wait for him to feed them on Monday and Friday mornings. If all goes according to schedule, we’ll be welcoming two baby geckos to the museum soon. Posters and commenters are required to observe National Geographic's community rules and other terms of service.

To learn firsthand what's going on in and around this marine treasure of global importance, the National Geographic Society sent its top scientists and officials to the region in January 2016.
The biological light, or bioluminescence, in the waves is the product of marine microbes called phytoplanktona€”and now scientists think they know how some of these life-forms create their brilliant blue glow. Scientists think bioluminescence may also be a form of defense for the life-forms.Much like a rattlesnake's tail, the light could act as "a signal that alerts a predator that it might be a bad idea to eat this prey," Hastings said. Pictures, he says, can't truly capture the experience.For instance, photos tend to blur the points of light together, he said.
The Asian crested ibis once thrived in Russia, Japan, and China, but its population has shrunk to about 250 in China's Shaanxi Province. One scientist says the reef has the most amazing animals shea€™s ever seen on an expedition.
But their tenure in paradise is perilously close to its end; only about 1,100 seals remain in the wild. They toured the desert islands off the southeastern coast of the Baja Peninsula and they listened to presentations by more than a dozen experts, including several whose Baja California research is funded by the Society. Various species of phytoplankton are known to bioluminesce, and their lights can be seen in oceans all around the world, said marine biologist and bioluminescence expert Woodland Hastings of Harvard University. When the infant emerges, it rides on its mother's back or clings to her belly, accompanying her everywhere until it is about a year old.Behavior and DietKoalas live in eastern Australia, where the eucalyptus trees they love are most plentiful. Winning images will be featured in the book The Worlda€™s Rarest Birds, to be published in 2012 by WILDGuides.The book's "key message is poignanta€”a large proportion of the world's birds, including every one depicted, is threatened with extinction," Andy Swash, managing director of WILDGuides, said in a statement.
In fact, they rarely leave these trees, and their sharp claws and opposable digits easily keep them aloft. During the day they doze, tucked into forks or nooks in the trees, sleeping for up to 18 hours.When not asleep a koala feeds on eucalyptus leaves, especially at night.
Each animal eats a tremendous amount for its size—about two and a half pounds (one kilogram) of leaves a day. Koalas even store snacks of leaves in pouches in their cheeks.A special digestive system—a long gut—allows koalas to break down the tough eucalyptus leaves and remain unharmed by their poison. Koalas eat so many of these leaves that they take on a distinctive odor from their oil, reminiscent of cough drops.PopulationThese plump, fuzzy mammals were widely hunted during the 1920s and 1930s, and their populations plunged.
Helped by reintroduction, they have reappeared over much of their former range, but their populations are smaller and scattered. Koalas need a lot of space—about a hundred trees per animal—a pressing problem as Australia's woodlands continue to shrink.

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