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Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. Each month, National Geographic magazine features breathtaking photographs in Visions of Earth. Bhutan—Novices at the Dechen Phodrang monastic school in Thimphu hear the dinner bell and come running. India—Children of the many snake charmers in the village of Padmakesharpur are no strangers to cobras. Norway—Bright beaks and feet signal the breeding season for Atlantic puffins on Hornoya Island. Cerro de Sorte, Venezuela—Surrounded by candles symbolizing regeneration, followers of a cult centered on the local goddess Maria Lionza wait for cleansing during an hour-long ritual.
Kiev, Ukraine—Dwarfed by the memory of her nation's past, a woman at the National Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War adjusts her outfit in front of a monument to Soviet soldiers. India—Decorated in pink powder, a bull dives through a crowd of men who hope to hang on to the animal long enough to win a prize. Argentina—Moonlight sets mist aglow on the Patagonian peak of Mount Fitz Roy, known to local people as Cerro Chalten, or "smoking mountain," because its summit is often capped in clouds.
Shodo Shima, Japan—Huddled for warmth, macaques press their bodies into a vast ball of fur. Qatar—Tour of Qatar cyclists sprint in a quick burst of color past a pipe storage yard outside Umm Said. Gulf of Aqaba—Surrounded by thousands of golden sweepers, photographer Magnus Lundgren spun his camera to capture this shifting school off Elat, Israel. New York City—Secret prize on the urban game board, a miniature garden brightens a Rockefeller Center rooftop seven stories above midtown traffic. Xinjiang—A column of dunes could provide geologic data for sand-sampling scientists, whose trucks scratch tracks across the wind-scoured Kumtag Desert.
United States—A red-clay spray showers spectators at the mud-pit belly flop, highlight of the annual Summer Redneck Games in East Dublin, Georgia.
California—More than 3,000 wind turbines bristle across the hills of the Tehachapi-Mojave Wind Resource Area, generating enough electricity to serve a quarter million homes each year. Afghanistan—Good luck and centripetal force help driver Mohammed Jawed keep circling the shuddering wood-plank Wall of Death during his traveling stunt show's stop in Kabul.
Sweden—The facial disk of feathers circling this great gray owl's eyes channel forest-floor sounds back to its ears, helping the bird pounce on a vole and carry it away. Czech Republic—It takes a microscope to make a handful of carrot seeds look like a swarm of bristling space invaders. Azerbaijan—The carcass of an abandoned amusement park ride is a diving platform for teens on a Caspian Sea beach near Baku. Go behind-the-scenes with our storytellers and join conversations about photography, art, and journalism. There is an incredible diversity of snake species that occupy a wide range of environments in tropical and temperate areas, from deserts and mountain summits to oceans. The green tree python is a beautiful tree dwelling species from the tropical forests of Indonesia and Northeastern Australia.
The king cobra is the largest venomous snake species in the world achieving a maximum length of 18 feet! The timber rattlesnake appeared the American revolutionary war Gadsden flag with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. 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.
Atlantic OceanFearsome predator of the deep, a viperfish displays its meal-clinching assets: bioluminescent spots thought to lure prey in dark waters and a set of ferocious fangs. EnglandThe shell of Brighton’s West Pier emerges in snowy outline during a night exposure lit by promenade lamps onshore. This series has been good therapy and education for me: I can handle snakes now and have learned a lot about different species.
To me, the aesthetic allures of nonvenomous rhinoceros rat snakes are their odd, lustrous colors and their snout protrusions. As the sun rises in Bekily, Madagascar, mango-eating children cast long shadows on the dry ground. Native to the New World, cactus-eating cochineal bugs are dried and crushed to produce a powdered dye. Candies, cookies, yogurts, gelatins, and juices may contain cochineal, but enhanced reds in the U.S. Embroidery thread, fabric for art, and couture gowns are still hand-colored with cochineal. Anything red, pink, or brown in the makeup aisle—lipstick, blush, mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow, nail polish—may contain cochineal. After the ruler’s remains were desecrated during the French Revolution, his head vanished for more than a hundred years. Now, after nine months of scientific and historical scrutiny, it’s in the hands of a royal descendant.

The head of France’s King Henry IV lies with a Legion of Honor medal that bears his portrait. In 1753 Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus published Species Plantarum, a book describing some 6,000 plant species that became the foundation of modern plant nomenclature. The scientific moniker for English oak has 314 synonyms, the common daisy (left) 29, and the giant sequoia 18. In the past five years two odd-looking bears, with white fur and brown patches, have been killed by hunters in the Canadian Arctic. Evolutionary biologist Brendan Kelly says that as natural barriers like sea ice vanish, 22 Arctic species are at risk of rapid hybridization. As the foragers of their colony’s caste system (left), media leaf cutter ants start out with mandibles as sharp as surgical scalpels. Observing Panama’s Atta cephalotes, University of Oregon’s Robert Schofield and his team found that ants with dulled blades used about twice as much energy and time to carve a leaf as their still sharp colleagues, triggering the job switch. Ten elements in the PERIODIC TABLE, including carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, are getting revised atomic weights.
At a rate of 30 miles a day, it would take around 15 months to walk through the Americas from Alaska to Argentina. Back in 1973 Professor Terence Dawson had some unusual guests working the treadmills at Harvard University.
Observing red kangaroos, he and colleagues found that longer strides, not more frequent ones, increase speed. Specialized body features (next page) give kangaroos superb power and mechanical efficiency, says Dawson.
At slow speeds these graceful jumpers use their forelegs and tail to hold themselves up while swinging their hind legs forward. If you’ve ever been pummeled by a wave at the beach, you know that moving water packs a wallop.
Since populations are often concentrated near coasts, energy from moving water can be produced close to where it’s needed. Segments of the wave energy converter are the size of railroad cars, undulating on the surface to move internal hydraulic rams.
Hinged like an oyster’s shell, buoyant ?aps push water through a high-pressure pipeline to drive an onshore turbine. Arrays of small turbines moored by lines to sea?oor or riverbed can generate power from relatively low ?ows.
In rural East Africa, where nearly 90 percent of households are off the grid and large solar panels are costly, hazardous kerosene lamps are the norm.
The surface of human skin is crowded with bacteria that would, if your immune system allowed it, cause serious infection. King cobras rarely attack humans, but one bite contains enough venom to bring down an elephant. To delete this file, click the file name with your mouse, then right-click and scroll down the menu to the "delete" option. To remove the photo permanently from the desktop, locate the photo on the hard drive and drag it to the trash. Whatever your interest, you'll be entertained and educated with our collection of best-selling DVDs. Water moccasins, like rattlesnakes, are pit vipers—they have heat-sensitive organs between their eyes and nostrils which helps them track prey. The image of airborne snakes may seem like the stuff of nightmares (or a certain Hollywood movie), but in the jungles of South and Southeast Asia it is reality.Flying snake is a misnomer, since, barring a strong updraft, these animals can’t actually gain altitude. Though this snake is a pet in Pretoria, the species is native to northern Australia and New Guinea. A nearby glacier births a steady supply of bergs that jostle off the settlement's shores year-round. Highly charged particles of pumice roar upward in spreading clouds of gas and smoke, generating crackling tangles of lightning.
The sport, jallikattu, is part of harvest celebrations in the Tamil Nadu town of Alanganallur.
The monkeys' relaxed social hierarchy allows high- and low-ranking individuals to share the same tight space. St-Laurent pause in their work pushing the Canadian vessel through frozen waters—allowing a diver to venture near. With about 3,458 species known so far, snakes are a successful group of predatory vertebrates.
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. Part illusion, thanks to Edgar Muller’s perspective painting "The Crevasse." Created over five days on a pier’s pavement in Dun Laoghaire, the faux precipice covers more than 2,000 square feet. A bustling site for entertainment in the 1920s, it fell into neglect before a 2003 fire left only bare bones. I’d always found them terrifying, but also fascinating—an attraction-repulsion I think most people experience when they encounter beautiful animals that creep or crawl. Everything about their appearance and behavior, from their matte-looking scales to their quiet nature, makes me almost want to caress them. I’ve photographed some 120 different species in this series, but I’ve barely scratched the surface—there are more than 3,000 in the world.
Beginning in the 16th century, Europeans of wealth and status wore clothing reddened with rare cochineal. A pate said to be Henry’s was sold at a Paris auction in the early 20th century, then moved quietly among private collections.

With its reinterment at the Basilica of St.-Denis near Paris, this weary head may finally be able to rest in peace. The list of names has since ballooned to 1.05 million, but of those, only around 300,000 are now confirmed to be unique species. Those are just a few identified so far in the Plant List, a working database created in 2010 by the Missouri Botanical Garden and London’s Kew Gardens after years of vetting.
DNA tests confirmed it: Polar and grizzly bears, after starting to diverge 200,000 years ago, are interbreeding in the wild. But over the course of their lives, the repetitive slicing of leaves into small disks dulls their V-shaped blades. Hopping marsupials may have evolved from tree ancestors some 40 million years ago—plenty of time to patent a signature gait.
The Electric Power Research Institute estimates that wave and tidal energy could supply 7 percent of the electricity for the United States—and in the United Kingdom, that contribution could be double. And unlike wind energy, dependent on inconsistent gusts, this technology is as predictable as the tides. Enter portable micro-solar systems, which development groups are introducing for $10 to $25. Dorica Magomba (left), a Maasai farmer in Tanzania’s Iringa Region, uses it to scare hyenas away from livestock at night. Researchers at Germany’s Friedrich Schiller University Jena found that speech trumps looks when people categorize someone based on those two traits alone. But researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have discovered that one bacterium in that mix, Staphylococcus epidermidis (a close cousin of methicillin-resistant S. Invisible to the eye, bacteria are revealed when a handprint made in agar gel (left) is cultured in a laboratory. When threatened, water moccasins will open their mouths wide as a warning, a defensive behavior also displayed by non-poisonous water snakes.
A wide, sage-covered plain, home to bison and moose, stretches across the valley to the base of the jagged Teton Range, which rises abruptly from the valley floor. They’re gliders, using the speed of free fall and contortions of their bodies to catch the air and generate lift.Once thought to be more parachuters than gliders, recent scientific studies have revealed intricate details about how these limbless, tube-shaped creatures turn plummeting into piloting. Puffins in summer and winter coloration look so different they were once thought separate species.
Remarkably the female coiled around the eggs also raising the incubation temperature several degrees above the air temperature through muscular contracting called “shivering”. 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. Now herpetologists, museums, and shops furnish me with snakes in all colors, textures, and dimensions.
Then I stand two feet away, pull back the top, point my camera—I still prefer the look of film—and wait for patterns and curves to emerge. In this series I digitally obscured the sides of the boxes in post-production, but I didn’t alter or edit any of the snakes’ colors. The deep, durable color was even used to produce the British Army’s famous red coats for more than 200 years. Kelly says if “pizzlies” in the wild lack some of those vital Arctic traits—as zoo-born hybrids* (left) seem to—interbreeding could further imperil an already threatened species.
Rather than retire, the ants shift their role to just carrying sheared-off vegetation to the nest, where food production begins. Engineers are designing all sorts of devices to tap this clean, renewable energy: “snakes” that jiggle over the water’s surface, buoys that bob with the swell, and turbines that spin in the current.
Technical and financial hurdles still exist, but projects are in the works for waters off Maine, New York, Oregon, Canada, and Scotland.
These generate one or two watts—enough to power LED lights and recharge batteries—as well as income for local salespeople.
Accents may be key to social integration, as they can affect whether listeners perceive the speaker as being one of their own or part of a different group. To prepare for take-off, a flying snake will slither to the end of a branch, and dangle in a J shape.
This species is also oviparous and hatchling emerges in one of two color patterns, bright yellow or dark orange.
Cochineal harvesting declined after the invention of cheap synthetic dyes in the 1800s, but it has rebounded—mostly in Peru and the Canary Islands—with the dye’s use as a natural alternative to artificial colorings.
Those forensic clues, along with preserved tissues and organs, helped a multidisciplinary team confirm that an embalmed skull (right) belonged to Henry IV, the beloved French king who was assassinated in 1610. We have different eye colors, shapes, and sizes, but we’re all people,” says botanist Bob Magill. It propels itself from the branch with the lower half of its body, forms quickly into an S, and flattens to about twice its normal width, giving its normally round body a concave C shape, which can trap air. Flying snakes are technically better gliders than their more popular mammalian equivalents, the flying squirrels.There are five recognized species of flying snake, found from western India to the Indonesian archipelago.
Knowledge of their behavior in the wild is limited, but they are thought to be highly arboreal, rarely descending from the canopy. Give that germ a way into a weakened body—like a ride on a surgical implant—and it can ignite a potentially fatal infection.

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