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Overheard at National Geographic

Overheard at National Geographic

Come dive into one of the curiously delightful conversations overheard at National Geographic?s headquarters, as we follow explorers, photographers, and scientists to the edges of our big, weird, beautiful world. Hosted by Peter Gwin and Amy Briggs.


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A Traveling Circus and its Great Escape

Decades of daring acrobatics, spectacular motorcycle stunts, and mind-blowing magic tricks couldn?t prepare Central America?s oldest-running circus for its most challenging feat yet?how to get home during a pandemic. Photographer and National Geographic Explorer Tomas Ayuso encountered the Segovia Brothers Circus stranded in Honduras amid the coronavirus lockdown, and then chronicled the performers? rollercoaster journey back to their native Guatemala?and the surprising circus fan who ultimately came to the rescue. For more information on this episode, visit Want more? If you?d like to read the magazine article that inspired this episode, you can find that in our show notes. There, you?ll find another story from Tomas Ayuso ? it?s about the impact that coronavirus has had on migrant families applying for asylum in the United States. Also explore: If you?d like to read more circus coverage from National Geographic, check out our story about traditional tightrope walking in remote Russian villages.  And for paid subscribers: Check out a recent National Geographic Magazine feature on COVID-19. It takes the work of photographers in five countries and compiles it all into one photo essay about how the pandemic became a painful shared experience around the globe.
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An Accidental Case of the Blues

Pigments color the world all around us, but where do those colors come from? Historically, they?ve come from crushed sea snails, beetles, and even ground-up mummies. But new pigments are still being discovered in unexpected places, and for researcher Mas Subramanian, a new color came, well, out of the blue. Overheard?s Amy Briggs ventured into the National Geographic photo studio to see the new color?the first blue pigment of its kind discovered since Thomas Jefferson was president. For more information on this episode, visit Want more? Read about how underwater cave explorers discovered a 11,000 year old pigment mine in Mexico and what it might tell us about the people who lived there. The names of colors are usually fanciful, but mummy brown is a surprisingly accurate description of this macabre pigment.  This episode is all about color, and so we have two colorful photo galleries for you to dive into: Photos through the eyes of the color blind, and the 12 different kinds of rainbows defined by science. Also explore: Check out the pigment collection and Harvard?s Art museum.  Read more about Mas Subramanian?s research at Oregon State University. And for paid subscribers: In this episode, Amy Briggs went into the Nat Geo studio to see our staff photographers hard at work photographing YInMn blue and other pigments. Take a look at our magazine feature to see the final product. The Phonician empire was shaped by the production of Tyrion purple, a pigment with its weight in gold which was made by boiling the mucus glands of thousands of sea snails.
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Introducing: Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller

Today we share an episode of a new podcast series called Trafficked, hosted by National Geographic Channel?s Mariana van Zeller. The series pulls back the curtain on the people operating trafficking rings and shadow economies. In this episode, Mariana sits down with country rapper Struggle Jennings. An outlaw country rapper?and the grandson of country music legend Waylon Jennings? he once got busted for trying to purchase a big load of oxycontin in a Walmart parking lot in Memphis, Tennessee. Mariana and Jennings discuss the day he got busted, his life leading up to it, and the toll it took. This episode features some strong language and drug references, so if your kids are around, you might want to check out another one of our episodes.   The Trafficked TV series is available now on National Geographic, and new episodes air Wednesdays.
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The Trouble with America?s Captive Tigers

Less than 4,000 tigers live in the wild, but experts say there may be more than 10,000 captive in the U.S., where ownership of big cats is largely unregulated. Overheard?s Peter Gwin talks with National Geographic Channel's Mariana van Zeller about her investigation into tiger trafficking and how wildlife tourism encourages a cycle of breeding and mistreatment. For more information on this episode, visit Want more? For Mariana van Zeller?s reporting on tiger tourism and trafficking around the world, tune into National Geographic?s series Trafficked.  Learn about what the Netflix series Tiger King left out about captive tigers and how visitors of roadside zoos can pose health risks to big cats. And check out how some of the series? characters, like Doc Antle and Jeff Lowe, have been penalized for their treatment of wild animals.  Also explore: Listen to our previous episode about the hidden costs of wildlife tourism.  And for paid subscribers: Read ?Captive tigers in the U.S. outnumber those in the wild. It?s a problem,? the National Geographic magazine story that looked into why there are thousands of big cats in the U.S.
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The Strange Tail of Spinosaurus

Spinosaurus has long been a superstar among dinosaur fans, with its massive alligator-like body and a huge ?sail? of skin running the length of its spine. Though the fossil was unearthed a century ago, scientists hadn?t been able to say exactly what it looked like because only a few bones had ever been found. But new fossil discoveries by National Geographic explorer Nizar Ibrahim will forever change the way we think about Spinosaurus?and all other dinosaurs. For more information on this episode, visit Want more? Michael Greshko has a lot more to say about Spinosaurus. Take a look at his article full of pictures and animations of what Spinosaurus might have looked like in the water.  Or learn about why dinosaurs went extinct in the first place. You can also make Spinoaurus and other prehistoric creatures appear in your living room by using Nat Geo's dinosaur instagram AR filter. Follow us at  Also explore: Check out our previous episode about the illegal trade of dinosaur fossils in the United States. And for paid subscribers: In our cover story, ?Re-imagining dinosaurs,? you can read about how paleontologists are learning more than ever by using advanced techniques like giving CT scans to frozen crocodiles or using lasers to figure out what color Velociraptor eggs were.
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The Search for History?s Lost Slave Ships

On the bottom of the world?s oceans lie historic treasures?the lost wrecks of ships that carried enslaved people from Africa to the Americas. Only a handful have been identified so far, but National Geographic explorer and Storytelling Fellow Tara Roberts is documenting the efforts of Black scuba divers and archaeologists to find more, hoping to finally bring their stories to light. For more information on this episode, visit Want more? Follow Tara?s journey around the world on Instagram. And here?s the photo that Tara Roberts saw at the National Museum of African American History and Culture that inspired her to learn to scuba dive. Read about the last slave ship survivor, Matilda McCrear, and what her descendants make of her legacy. Tag along on a scuba mission with DWP divers in this video produced by National Geographic. And for paid subscribers: Read a History magazine article about the Clotilda, the ship that illegally smuggled 110 West Africans into the United States on the eve of the Civil War. We have another History magazine article about 1619, when the first enslaved Africans arrived in colonial North America
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Chasing the World?s Largest Tornado

How do you measure something that destroys everything it touches? That?s an essential question for tornado researchers. After he narrowly escaped the largest twister on record?a two-and-a-half-mile-wide behemoth with 300-mile-an-hour winds?National Geographic Explorer Anton Seimon found a new, safer way to peer inside them and helped solve a long-standing mystery about how they form. For more information on this episode, visit Want more? See some of Anton?s mesmerizing tornado videos and his analysis of the El Reno tornado. Check out what we know about the science of tornadoes and tips to stay safe if you?re in a tornado?s path. Plus, learn more about The Man Who Caught the Storm, Brantley Hargrove?s biography of Tim Samaras. And for paid subscribers: Read ?The Last Chase,? the National Geographic cover story chronicling Tim Samaras? pursuit of the El Reno tornado. 
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Documenting Democracy

Andrea Bruce, a National Geographic photographer, has covered conflict zones around the world for nearly two decades. She shares how the experience of capturing democratic ideals as a war photographer in Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iraq now shapes the way she's chronicling democracy in America in 2020. For more information on this episode, visit Want more? Explore dispatches from Andrea Bruce?s Our Democracy project as well as her photos from overseas. We also have resources for election night, including how experts say you should talk to your kids about elections and why election maps may be misleading. And for paid subscribers: See what Bolivia, New Zealand, Iraq, and Afghanistan have in common: Women there have made huge advances and gained political power. Andrea Bruce photographed the women in charge?and the women still fighting for change.
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Can You Hear the Reggae in My Photographs?

Photographer and National Geographic Storytelling Fellow Ruddy Roye grew up in Jamaica, a cradle of reggae and social justice movements. He describes how that background prepared him to cover the historic protests and civil unrest in 2020, what he?s tackling in his new National Geographic project "When Living Is a Protest," and what he tells his sons about growing up in America. For more information on this episode, visit Want more? See some of Ruddy Roye?s National Geographic assignments, including his coverage of the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, as well as his most recent photographs, depicting the impact of COVID on people of color and the Black Lives Matter protests. And for paid subscribers: See the renaissance happening at historically Black colleges?a surge in enrollment and a new brand of African-American activism.
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Overheard Season 4

Documenting democracy. Untwisting the world?s largest tornado. Searching for wrecks of lost slave ships. Dinosaur hunting in Morocco. Accidentally inventing a new color. Come dive into one of the curiously delightful conversations overheard at National Geographic?s headquarters, as we follow explorers, photographers, and scientists to the edges of our big, weird, beautiful world. Hosted by Peter Gwin and Amy Briggs.
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How I Learned to Love Zombie Parasites

Photographer Anand Varma details his very first natural history adventures?not in Amazonian rainforests or on Polynesian coral reefs but in suburban Atlanta?and how a childhood fascination with catching frogs and turtles in his backyard led to a career documenting the fantastical worlds of ?zombie? parasites, fire ant colonies, vampire bats, hummingbirds, and jellyfish.   Want More? Read about the zombie parasites that control their hosts, and watch a video of these mindsuckers here. Also check out Mexico?s carnivorous bats, and go behind the lens with Anand as he attempts to capture the iconic shot of a honeybee emerging from a brood cell for the first time.   Also explore: The science of hummingbirds and what makes these birds the perfect flying machines.   Got something to say? Contact us: [email protected]
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The Failing of War Photography

Anastasia Taylor-Lind talks about how she grew up living the life of a modern gypsy, traveling across southern England in the back of a horse-drawn wagon, and how her experiences covering conflicts in Iraq and Ukraine forever changed the way she views storytelling and war photography.   Want More? You can see the photo of the female Peshmerga soldier that launched Anastasia?s career on her website along with many of her other projects. Read Anastasia?s essay ?The Most Frightening Thing About War? here. Check out the story Peter Gwin and Anastasia collaborated on about riding Arabian horses in Oman. You can watch Anastasia?s TED talk ?Fighters and Mourners of the Ukrainian Revolution.?   Also explore: See our story on soldiers using art to reveal the trauma of war and learn about today?s battlefields, where more women than ever are on the front lines of armed conflict and as peacekeepers in the world?s hot spots.   Got something to say? Contact us: [email protected]
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The Canary of the Sea

Chirp. Whistle. Creak. Beluga whales, the canaries of the sea, have a lot to say. But noise from ships can drown out their calls, putting calves in danger. What happens when humans press pause during the coronavirus pandemic?and finally give ocean life some peace and quiet? For more on this episode, visit Want more? Ever wonder why ocean animals eat plastic? The answer is surprisingly complicated.  Whales around the world are still being hunted for their meat. But in Iceland that might be ending. Also explore: Take in the breathtaking sight of hundreds of beluga whales gathering in the Arctic. Check out the very first episode of Overheard for another story on how whales communicate. And for paid subscribers: The graphics team at Nat Geo has mapped out the effects of shipping on Arctic sea ice. Read Craig Welch?s reporting on the changing Arctic, including how the thawing of permafrost affects us all. See photos of whales taken by a Nat Geo explorer who?s spent 10,000 hours underwater.  Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected]
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A Spore of Hope

Humans face an existential problem: feeding billions of people in a warming world. But there?s a ray of hope. And it all starts with microbes.  For more information on this episode, visit Want more? Microbes are everywhere! Learn about the bacteria living in the depths of the Mariana Trench, in the Pacific Ocean, and what they might tell us about life in outer space on one of Jupiter?s moons. Microbes have been around a long time! Check out the world?s oldest fossilized fungus. Also explore: Read more about the ?communication? between fungi and plants happening under our feet. Listen to Nat Geo contributor Joel Bourne Jr. discuss his book, The End of Plenty. And for paid subscribers: How the tiny country of the Netherlands is pioneering the future of sustainable agriculture. And learn all about the trillions of microbes that live inside us! Got something to say? Contact us: [email protected]
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The Tree at the End of the World

A harrowing journey is all in a day's work for a Nat Geo explorer trying to find the world?s southernmost tree. But what happens when a self-proclaimed "normal human being" tags along? For more information on this episode, visit Want more? Read Craig?s story, and see pictures of the journey and the world?s southernmost tree. A nature reserve in the Cape Horn archipelago has the ?world's cleanest rain and cleanest streams.? Learn how scientists are protecting it. Nat Geo Explorer Brian Buma is no stranger to scientific adventures. Read about the time he went into the field with old photos, a metal detector, and bear mace. Also explore: Take a virtual trip with these photos of 19 iconic trees from around the world.   And for paid subscribers: Follow as Craig witnesses ?the big meltdown? in Antarctica.   Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected]
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The United States v. One Tyrannosaurus Bataar

When a Mongolian paleontologist sees a dinosaur skeleton illegally up for auction in the United States, she goes to great lengths to stop the sale. For more information on this episode, visit Want more? Read about the latest discoveries in paleontology, such as the T.Rex's survival strategy for when food was scarce. Find out about the entrepreneur from Florida who went to jail for smuggling Mongolian fossils. Learn about the two leading theories for why dinosaurs went extinct in the first place. Also explore: Watch the final return of the fossil that was auctioned off in New York to Bolor Minjin and other representatives of the Mongolian government. Bolor once took a Winnebago filled with dinosaur exhibits off-road, across the Gobi. Read more about how she's helping to educate Mongolians about paleontology at The Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs. And for paid subscribers: Take a look behind the scenes at the private collectors who are buying dinosaur bones. Bones are the most common type of dinosaur fossil, but in the right conditions, scales and even skin can be preserved. See pictures of a petrified nodosaur on our website. Got something to say? Contact us: [email protected]
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The Unstoppable Wily Coyote

They're smart, they're sneaky, and they aren't moving out any time soon. Meet your new neighbor, the coyote, and find out why these cunning canids are on the rise in North America-and beyond. For more information on this episode, visit Want more? Read more of Christine Dell'Amore's reporting about coyotes' remarkable spread. See Chicago through a coyote's eyes with video from a Nat Geo Crittercam. It's not just coyotes: other animals are finding homes in cities. Dive into Nat Geo stories about urban wildlife. Learn about the U.S. government program that killed millions of coyotes in "the most epic campaign of persecution against any animal in North American history." Also explore: Meet the National Geographic Explorer trying to save jaguars, a key coyote predator in Central America. Be prepared: here are tips to avoid coyote conflict and a guide to Hazing 101. Check out Roland Kays' podcast, Wild Animals, for more fun animal stories. Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected]
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The Towers of Ladakh

A mechanical engineer teams up with an unlikely band of students who use middle school math and science to create artificial glaciers that irrigate Ladakh, a region in India hit hard by climate change. For more information on this episode, visit Want More? Read Arati's story about Sonam Wangchuk and his artificial glaciers in this month's issue of the magazine. It's not just Ladakh that's facing a water crisis. Learn more about India's struggles with water infrastructure, with more reporting by Arati Kumar-Rao. You can read about the complicated history of Kashmir, an area that's witnessed two wars and a longstanding insurgency. Also explore: Check out photos of Sonam's solar-powered school built from mud. You can also make your own pledge to live simply by visiting the I Live Simply movement's website. Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected]
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Overheard Season 3

Smuggled dinosaur bones. Man-made glaciers. An audacious quest to find the world's southernmost tree. Each week, we'll dive into one of the curiously delightful conversations we've overheard around National Geographic's headquarters. You'll be introduced to the explorers, photographers and scientists at the edges of our big, bizarre, and beautiful world. Hosted by Peter Gwin and Amy Briggs.
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The Virus Hunter

Coronaviruses aren't new. For more than 20 years, German virologist Rolf Hilgenfeld has been looking for ways to slow or stop the virus. What does it take to find a treatment for coronaviruses, and what might that mean for the future of COVID-19? For more information on this episode, visit Want more? Rolf Hilgenfeld is one of the many people who are trying to test and develop medicine for COVID-19. Nat Geo reporter Michael Greshko has put together an article explaining the other approaches out there. On our Coronavirus Coverage page you can find National Geographic's most up-to-date articles on the pandemic, including news and explanations of the science. On that page, other articles provide new perspectives, such as how astronauts handle social isolation, and what people used to do before toilet paper was invented. And if you've had too much news about the pandemic, Nat Geo has put together a new newsletter called Escape, full of awe-inspiring pictures, compelling stories, and no COVID-19 updates whatsoever. Also explore: If you'd like to dive deeper into the antiviral compound Rolf Hilgenfeld has been developing, check out the research paper. The CDC website is the best source for new information about COVID-19 and how you can stay safe and keep others around you safe. Got something to say? Contact us: [email protected]
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The Frozen Zoo

Right now, one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. Conservation scientists are doing whatever they can to save them, or at least of piece of them. For the last 45 years, a team of researchers at the San Diego Zoo has been freezing the cells of endangered animals. With these time capsules of DNA, researchers continue to study endangered animals, and hope to maybe even bring some back from the brink of extinction. For more information on this episode, visit Want more? National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale has covered conflict and nature. She was with Sudan when he died and she believes that the survival of creatures like the northern white rhino is intertwined with our own. Move over, Noah. Joel Sartore is building his own ark - out of photographs. He's on a decades-long mission to take portraits of more than 15,000 endangered species before it's too late. Stuart Pimm has a lot more to say about species revival. In this editorial he makes a case against de-extinction - and explains why bringing back extinct creatures could do more harm than good. It's been a long time since Jurassic Park hit theaters. Today, our revival technology straddles the line between science fact and science fiction - but do we want to go there? Also explore: Read Kate Gammon's original reporting for InsideScience, which inspired this conversation here at Overheard HQ. Want to dive further into the debate? Hear George Church's talk - and talks by some of the greatest minds in conservation - at the TedxDeExtinction conference. The Frozen Zoo is working on a lot of exciting research that didn't make it into the episode. For example, they've already managed to turn rhino skin cells into beating heart cells. To learn more about what they're up to, check out the San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research for yourself. Some of the most promising applications for the Frozen Zoo come from new technology that lets us turn one kind of cell into any other kind of cell. Read more about the first mouse that was created from skin cells. Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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If These Walls Could Talk

Social Media is not just for modern folk. In ancient Pompeii, people also shared what they thought, who they met with, what they ate... It's just, they had to use different technology. For more information on this episode, visit Want more? Pompeii is not just an archaeological site, it's one huge graveyard. But it was very much a living city right up until it was snuffed out by Mt. Vesuvius. When you think of an avalanche, you probably think of snow. But volcanoes also cause avalanches. Archaeologists believe that it was an avalanche of rocketing, boiling gas and sediment that cooked Pompeiians alive in 79 A.D. In the late 1800s, archaeologists started pouring plaster into voids left in the hardened volcanic ash covering Pompeii. The result? Full-sized casts of Vesuvius' victims -- human and otherwise. Do you live in the shadow of a volcano? Here are a few safety tips for when that telltale rumbling begins. Could Chernobyl be our contemporary version of Pompeii? Some archaeologists think so. Also explore: Curious about how Pompeii's graffiti compares to the stuff in your own backyard? Check out imagines of ancient Pompeiian graffiti at the Ancient Graffiti Project. Vesuvius will erupt again. The question is when, and what will Pompeiians do when it does? Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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The Aquarius Project

A fireball from outer space crashed into one of Earth's biggest lakes. Scientists didn't know how to find it. So, they called in just the right people for the job -- an actor and a bunch of teenagers. For more information on this episode, visit Want more? See eyewitness reports and videos from the February 2017 fireball that sparked the Aquarius Project. The Aquarius Project is no longer the only group to look for a meteorite in a massive body of water. Using a similar method, a NASA scientist recovered meteorite fragments from the ocean floor off the Washington coast. Read about other extraordinary lengths people take to find meteorites -- like the explorer, fueled by reindeer milk, who trudged deep into Siberia to find the site of a monstrous meteor impact. Meet the only person in recorded human history to be struck by a meteorite. Also explore: Almost all meteorites originate from our solar system. But scientists discovered one interstellar interloper that may have slammed into earth. Nearly 50 tons of space debris hit Earth every day. Watch Meteor Showers 101. Listen to the Adler Planetarium's podcast series chronicling the Aquarius Project. Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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March of the Beaver

The desolate Alaskan tundra - a landscape that has literally been frozen solid for thousands of years - is suddenly caving in on itself. Colonizing beavers are engineering new wetlands that thaw the soil, rapidly releasing greenhouse methane into the atmosphere. Beavers can survive in the arctic because - like people - they change the environment to make homes for themselves, and their carbon footprint can be seen from space. For more information on this episode, visit Want More? Permafrost covers an area more than twice the size of the United States. Read about why it's thawing faster than we expected. There are drunken trees in forests across Alaska, Canada and northern Eurasia. Check out pictures of some drunken forests. Ben Goldfarb believes that beavers aren't only not to blame for climate change, they're actually helping fight against it. Also explore: Not only is methane a greenhouse gas, it's also flammable. Watch Katey Walter Anthony set frozen lakes on fire. Ever wonder why beavers make such great hats? And why they eventually went out of style? Wonder no more. Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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Cave of the Jaguar God

Crawl into the Maya underworld, where science meets spirits, shamans, and snakes. A long-forgotten cave could shed light on one of history's most enduring questions: why did the ancient Maya collapse? For more information on this episode, visit Want more? See the incense burners, plates and grinding stones found in the Cave of the Jaguar God. Learn how Guillermo de Anda uses ground-penetrating radar and other high-tech tools to investigate Chichen Itza. Read about jaguars and their place as the divine feline in Mesoamerican cultures. Also explore: Travel inside the world's longest underwater cave system -- spanning 215 miles underneath the Yucatan Peninsula. What can you find inside the longest underwater cave? Remains of ice age giant sloths and an ancient relative of the elephant. Check out more of Guillermo's work through the Great Maya Aquifer Project. Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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The Hidden Cost of the Perfect Selfie

What do tigers, sloths, elephants and bears have in common? They're all part of the incredibly lucrative captive wildlife tourism industry. Travelers from around the world clamor for opportunities to pose with these magnificent creatures and get that perfect selfie. This week - we look at the complicated nature of elephant tourism in Thailand. For more information on this episode, visit Want More? Read Natasha's cover story on wildlife tourism to learn more about the global industry. Learn more about Ban Ta Klang the "elephant village" at the center of Thailand's captive elephant trade. Want to know how to approach wildlife tourism in a way that's better for animals? We've got some tips on how to make sure you're having an ethical encounter. Why do people risk their lives for animal selfies? Natasha talked with psychologists to find out. Learn more about Puerto Alegria - a Peruvian town on the banks of the Amazon that was once a hotbed of wildlife tourism. Also Explore Get some tips from National Geographic photographers on how to photograph wild animals ethically. Learn more about Think Elephants International, the organization that Joshua Plotnik co-founded. The advocacy group World Animal Protection studied the impact of wildlife selfies in the Amazon. Read more about what they found. Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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The Alien Underground

Half a mile below the surface of the earth, in a cave too hot to explore without an ice-packed suit, NASA scientist and Nat Geo explorer Penny Boston clambers around glassy crystals that are taller than telephone poles and wider than dinner tables. But it's not The Crystal Cave's grandeur she's interested in -- it's what may be hibernating inside the crystals. Astrobiologists like Penny Boston scour the Earth's most hostile environments for microorganisms, to see if they hold clues to what life might look like on other planets - maybe even planets in our solar system. For more information on this episode, visit Want More? Hear Penny Boston speak on stage about her search for extremophiles all over the world. Inside the Cave of Crystals, Penny Boston discovered organisms that have been alive for tens of thousands of years, trapped inside the crystals. Kevin Hand has been eager to search for life on Europa for a long time. He's been testing robots in the arctic to see if they can withstand the extreme conditions there. Europa isn't the only planet with the potential for life. Europa isn't the only planet with the potential for life. Scientists are hunting the galaxy for other planets that are just the right size and temperature. It turns out there may be billions of them. Also explore: Watch President Bill Clinton give a speech about the Allan Hills meteorite - a rock from Mars that looked like it might contain fossilized life. You can see a photo of the strange shapes in the Allan Hills meteorite and read more about why scientists thought those shapes might be signs of life. Penny Boston is the director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. They're working hard to study what alien life might be like. Kevin Hand is part of a team of scientists who are building the Europa Clipper - a probe designed to search the moon orbiting Jupiter for the right conditions for life. Europa has a huge liquid water ocean. Here's more information from Kevin Hand about why that ocean might be inhabited. Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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Digging Up Disaster

How did an ancient Roman harbor end up in ruins? Scientists realized the culprit was a long-forgotten natural disaster that left tell-tale geological clues -- and possibly an eyewitness account in an ancient religious text. But solving this mystery led to a bigger question: what if it happens again? For more information on this episode visit Want more? Learn about the science of tsunamis -- including why Indonesia may be due for another big one. Could earthquakes explain some biblical stories? Scientists matched a tale of "fire and brimstone" with geological records of Israel's seismic history. A surprise tsunami in 2018 was far worse than early-warning systems expected. Here's what we're learning about different types of earthquakes. Also explore: A forgotten, 600-year-old tsunami explains the rise of a powerful Islamic kingdom. More about Beverly Goodman and her work at the Charney School of Marine Sciences. And want to learn more about the Talmud? Henry Abramson helps teach it, one page a day. Scientists didn't know an area in Mexico was prone to big earthquakes - until they factored in centuries-old Aztec records. Got something to say? Contact us: [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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Overheard at National Geographic Season 2

Exploring the ancient Maya Cave of the Jaguar God. The graffiti of Pompeii. Searching for alien life underground. New season of Overheard at National Geographic starting October 15th.
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Honeybee Chop Shop

What is a honeybee chop shop, and why do they exist? Turns out the answer has everything to do with the food on our tables. We dig into the sticky business of beekeeping and commercial agriculture. For more information on this episode visit Want More? Read more about the seriously sticky problem of honeybee theft. Also Explore: Watch an amazing time-lapse of bees hatching. See how honeybees are each assigned their distinct jobs. Read about an unlikely feud between Maya beekeepers and Mennonites in Mexico. Learn more about honeybees. Without insects, we might all die, argues this author. Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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The Glass Stratosphere

What if women had been among the first to head to the moon? A NASA physician thought that wasn't such a far fetched idea back in the 1960s. He developed the physical and psychological tests used to select NASA's first male astronauts, and ran those same test on women, who thought their performance punched their ticket to the moon. We'll hear about what happened from two of the women involved. For more information on this episode visit Want More? Read why some scientists think the future of spaceflight should be female. Also Explore: Meet the people who got us to space and the pioneers pushing us farther. Explore the never-used Soviet space shuttles rusting in a hangar in Kazakhstan. See Nat Geo editors' favorite space photos. Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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The Harem Conspiracy

Murder, succession, and a 18-foot scroll of papyrus that reads like an ancient Egyptian episode of Law and Order. We get the lowdown on the Judicial Papyrus of Turin. For more information on this episode visit Want More? Read about the bloody coup described in the Judicial Papyrus of Turin, as well as other poignant examples of law and order in ancient Egypt. Learn more about the Queens of Egypt exhibition at the National Geographic Museum. Also Explore: Explore the Book of the Dead, ancient Egypt's guide to the underworld. See the artifacts that honor Egypt's powerful queens. Test your knowledge of ancient Egypt. Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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The Zombie Mice of Marion Island

Mice on the sub-Antarctic Marion Island are out for blood, and they're feasting, zombie-style, on living, immature albatrosses. Turns out, these tiny mammals are a very big threat to these huge seabirds. One photographer says it was more intense than watching the first four seasons of The Walking Dead. For more information on this episode visit Want more? Want to see the zombie mice of Marion Island yourself? You can see photos and video here, but beware, some may find the footage disturbing. Meet National Geographic Photographer Thomas Peschak, and see more of his work. Read more about Peschak's experience documenting these ravenous mice (warning: the photos and video are graphic). Also explore: This other island has been declared rat-free thanks to a conservation effort. Learn more about the global migratory bird crisis. Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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Scuba Diving in a Pyramid

One of National Geographic's writers was hard to pin down for a while. That's because she was in Sudan, scuba diving underneath a pyramid. We had so many questions for her-especially once she shared with us that the contents of the pyramid could fundamentally change what we understand about ancient Egypt's 25th dynasty. For more information on this episode visit Want more? Read Kristin Romey's piece, and watch a video of what it's like to go scuba diving under a pyramid at Nuri. Learn more about the Kingdom of Kush in what is now Sudan, a rival to ancient Egypt awash in gold and power. Also explore: Read about the mysterious void discovered in Egypt's Great Pyramid. Learn how illegal tomb raiders are stealing the world's history. Watch: Ancient Egypt 101 Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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Rats vs Humans: A Love Story

Bringers of plague, schleppers of pizza slices, garbage gobblers. Rats have adapted over the millennia to survive and thrive in human company, much to our amazement and (often) disgust. But love them or hate them, our past and our future is bound up with these little hustlers. For more information on this episode visit Want More? Read Emma Marris's magazine story on how rats have become a global, inescapable part of city life. Yes, rats really can wriggle up toilets. Learn more about their "ninja" skills. Rats can remember who's nice to them, and return the favor, reports a study on their surprisingly complex social behavior. Also explore: Are rats really to blame for the Medieval "black death" plagues? These scientists have a different theory. Rats remain a popular food in Vietnam. Learn why. Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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Evolution of a Little Liar

Most parents see lying as a cause for worry or reprimand. But some experts suggest lying at a young age could be a welcome sign of childhood development. So what does lying tell us about human cognition? For more information on this episode visit Want More? Read writer Yudhijit Bhattacharrjee's magazine story on why we lie, and what it says about us. Watch: Why science says it's good for kids to lie. Learn more about researcher Kang Lee's work. Read about Charles Darwin's report on his son, Doddy. Also explore: Do you lie more or less than the average person? Take this quiz to find out. Meet history's most notorious liars. These are the best liars of the animal world. Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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Humpback Hit Factory

There's a humpback whale song sensation that's sweeping the South Pacific. We'll learn about the burgeoning study of "whale culture"-and why these super smart cetaceans may have a lot more in common with us than we'd ever imagined. For more information on this episode visit Want more? Meet National Geographic Photographer Brian Skerry, and see examples of his work beneath the waves. Read Ellen Garland's original paper on whale song transmission, and listen to the humpback audio recordings that helped her piece this phenomenon together. Here's the backstory behind those whale songs you heard at the top of the show, from Roger Payne's Songs of the Humpback Whale. Also explore: Sperm whales in the Caribbean form clans that have their own unique dialects-and thus culture. Video: Off the coast of Argentina, seasoned killer whales hunt sea lion pups. Whale song recordings off Hawaii have revealed a strange series of deep beats almost inaudible to humans. An unusual number of humpback whales are dying along the U.S. East Coast, and scientists are racing to figure out why. Got something to say? Contact us! [email protected] Click here to give us feedback on Overheard:
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Introducing Overheard from National Geographic

A new weekly podcast from National Geographic. We talk with explorers and scientists who are uncovering amazing stories at the edges of our wild and wonderful world. New episodes every Tuesday, starting June 11.
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