Archives for November, 2010

The Mysterious Abyss

Photo credit: Michael Aw The ocean’s abyss is a virtually undiscovered black, cold landscape with more underwater creatures than the Amazon River or Great Barrier Reef. We know very little about what lives and thrives in these deep sea waters, partly because the abyss is one of the hardest places on the planet to explore.…

We remember reading in Robert Hughes‘  history of Modernism, “The Shock of the New,” that the completion of the Eiffel Tower in 1889 helped trigger the mass mind expansion that led to Picasso and de Kooning.  That’s because the then-tallest structure on the planet allowed people to view reality from a never-before-seen expanse, and to take in…

Underwater Alien Planet

With more underwater creatures than anywhere else on the planet and ten times more biodiversity than Caribbean reefs, scientists travel 10,000 ft. down in the Celebes Sea to explore the bizarre and the undiscovered. Into the Abyss airs Tuesday November 30 at 10P et/pt on Nat Geo Wild. Video Preview: Scientists send an ROV to the…

Big Cat Week Is Coming

Powerful. Deadly. Beautiful. Endangered. Big cat species often define and dominate the ecosystems in which they are found. Animals of incredible strength and skill, big cats are revered predators that face an epic battle for survival. They have enthralled us and captured our imaginations. Theirs is the story of the wild. Nat Geo Wild presents…

Rain Forest Chimps

Researchers are learning that chimps, like humans, display cultural differences. Watch a video preview of tonight’s episode of Africa’s Great Rift: Chimps Among the Lakes airing at 9P et/pt.

Just in case you’re not feeling sufficiently on edge, just consider this: There have been five major extinction events in Earth’s history that nearly wiped out life on the planet, and we could be inducing a slow-motion version of one right now. But could you be one of the lucky life forms that emerge relatively…

Predators Hunting Cheetahs

In the Serengeti, cheetah cubs are born into a life of uncertainty. Competition for food can be costly, and ninety-five percent of cheetah cubs will die before they reach independence. Many of these dotted creatures will suffer an untimely death at the paws of a hunting lion simply because the iconic big cat has an…

Largest Living Pigeons

When you think of a pigeon, perhaps you envision a small, plucky, dirty urban dweller. But the largest of the living pigeon species – the Victoria crowned pigeon – is in contrast quite beautiful, with bright bluish-gray plumes and an ornate feathered crown.    In the wild, the Victoria crowned pigeon is only found in the lowland,…

And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with Bristol Palin’s dancing. Somehow, in the election hoopla a few weeks ago, we neglected to report that Denver voters rejected–by a 5-1 margin, no less–a ballot proposal that would have set up a government commission to track extraterrestrial visitors to the Mile High City. The Washington Post reported the…

Meadow Life

Twelve thousand years before the common era, glaciers stretched across Central Europe. But this icy world soon begins to melt, and the roar of rapids now fills the region. The landscape – once hidden beneath ice sheets 2,000 meters thick – begins to emerge from beneath the disappearing glaciers. Over the next millennia, this unique…

Parrott Poachers

The Scarlet Macaw fetches big bucks on the black market, and poachers will do anything to lay their hands on one. Restless Planet: Eat or Be Eaten premieres Tuesday November 23 at 10P et/pt on Nat Geo Wild.

Praying Mantis Legends

A praying mantis has long, slender limbs and seemingly thoughtful movements. This insect is named after its prominent front legs, bent in a pose of prayer.  Many legends associated with the praying mantis are in regards to these legs shifting into positions worthy of body language interpretation. On a recent ecotour to Borneo, we spotted this praying…

Catching a Sawfish

The Strike Force team travels to the remote northern tip of Australia to help capture and transport two live sawfish for a breeding program. Strike Force: Operation Sawfish premieres Monday November 22 at 10P et/pt on Nat Geo Wild.  Video Preview: The team makes their first catch!  A seven-foot sawfish is in the net.

Canine Influenza Q&A

Canine influenza is a viral infection that can cause a whole range of symptoms in your dog, from moist cough to severe pneumonia. So what do dog owners need to know about prevention, testing and treatment of canine influenza?  I chatted with Dr. Cynthia M. Otto, Associate Professor of Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania School of…

Rattlesnake Strike

When food is scarce, the heavy-bodied Western diamondback rattlesnake can go without food for up to two years. But it moves its ribs along the ground, distinguishing vibrations, looking for the perfect place to score a meal. Thermal pits on its face detect heat, and its forked tongue picks up the tiniest of smells. Then…

Cheek-Stuffing Chipmunks

As seasons shift and winter draws near, chipmunks scamper about and gather food to carry back to burrows for safe-keeping. Chipmunks are lively omnivores and feed on nuts, berries, grain, seeds and insects. They forage on the ground near a protective log or bush and stuff their bounty into large, pudgy cheek pouches.  Check out this adorable YouTube video…

Here’s something that will blow your mind. Researchers at UCLA and the California Institute of Technology have proven that the humans can actually regulate the activity of specific neurons in the brain, increasing the firing rate of some while decreasing the rate of others. According to this recent UCLA news release, by employing this ability, study subjects…

Prehistoric Jaws

by Ancient Sea Monsters Production Team Standing at the bottom of Fossil Hill in Nevada is a humbling experience. It sits among a group of hills in the Humboldt mountain range. And although these peaks won’t be giving Mount Everest a run for its money anytime soon, many of these “hills” still tower at around…

You probably missed this story, amid all the hoopla about allegations that Tea Party supporters rigged the vote on “Dancing With the Stars” to keep Bristol Palin in the competition, despite her underwhelming talents as a hoofer. But a little-noticed report by a U.S. commission reveals that for 18 minutes on April 18, 2010, China Telecom manipulated the system…

Tortoise Eats Screws

By Julia Reusch, My Dog Ate What? Producer This season we tried something a little different in My Dog Ate What.  We added one story for each episode featuring an animal that wasn’t a dog.  While it was a little more difficult to find good stories, it was definitely worth it.  I produced the story…

There’s rumors on the Internets that Stuxnet, the mysterious malware that has attacked thousands—possibly millions—of computers around the world since its discovery in June, actually was a U.S. or Israeli cyber-weapon aimed at the Iranian nuclear program. Now, researchers at Symantec, the antivirus software giant, say in a blog post that they’ve found additional evidence that that…

How to Make a Mummy

by John RubinProducerIn Papua New Guinea, my team hired a number of locals as guards, porters, road repair crews, cooks and drivers, and we paid them all at a significant premium above the prevailing wage. Still, we couldn’t hire all of the locals, and some pursued other methods to get a share of the crew’s…

Okapi Conservation

Only discovered in the 20th century, the unusual okapi has qualities that resemble the horse, giraffe and zebra. But in truth, the okapi is the only relative of the giraffe (Giraffidae), a family that branched off from antelope, deer and cattle (Artiodactyla) approximately 34 million years ago. Like the giraffe, okapis have enormous, upright ears and long prehensile tongues.…

Back in the late 1960s, America had a hit pop group called The Archies, who actually made it to Number One on the charts with the single “Sugar, Sugar”—a remarkable feat for a band composed of animated cartoon characters. (The Archies’ instrumental music and vocals actually were performed by an assortment of studio musicians.) We always saw…

By Jon Losciale, My Dog Ate What? Producer Myla was only a few months old when she shocked everyone by eating a pincushion and the over twenty-five pins and needles stuck in it at the time.  After the incident the family was able to look back and realize they shouldn’t have been that shocked considering…