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June 2006 Archive

Some 11,400-year-old figs found in Israel may be the fruit of the world's first known form of farming, dating back a thousand years before grains were domesticated.

A Japanese mission to land on an asteroid has revealed startling clues about the structure of the near-Earth objects that share our corner of the solar system.

The armies of microbes in your digestive tract are so essential to survival that you're a super-organism, a new study says.

Parts of New Orleans are sinking even faster than scientists realized, shedding new light on what may have contributed to the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina.

You might not want to set your clock by it, but the iconic geyser's steady eruptions still draw in a steady crowd.

The award-winning documentary is the first commercially released film shot by soldiers in the field and the first to be directed via email and instant messenger.

Lime and lemon juice could be potent weapons against AIDS in developing countries, a scientist says. But others argue that the treatment may be ineffective or harmful.

This is one funky chicken. Get a glimpse of a bizzare dance craze that is becoming all the rage in Abidjan nightclubs.

Sealed off from the outside world for millions of years, the newfound Israeli cavern harbors eyeless scorpion-like crustaceans in an underground lake.

Some of the rare, remote habitats of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands could disappear beneath the waves by 2100 because of rising sea levels, scientists say.

A new ultra-modern facility in the southernmost Florida island is specially designed to protect local forecasters during the strongest of storms.

If 666 is the "number of the Beast," 6/6/06 could be a beastly day, with mothers-to-be wary of giving birth, scary movies opening, and believers awaiting rapture.

See the Grand Canyon as only the bravest visitors do—from the white-water rapids of the Colorado River.

Crows share many hallmarks of higher intelligence with humans, including tool use and sophisticated social behavior, according to a new book.

Modern imaging technology is revealing obscured text within charred sections of Europe's oldest surviving manuscript.

Indonesian officials are evacuating 11,000 people from around the Merapi volcano, as lava and clouds of gas and debris poured down its steep, upper slopes.

"Planemos"—objects too small to be stars but bigger than most planets—are encircled by disks of debris that could spawn tiny orbiting planets.

As potential fathers age, their sperm deteriorates and is less likely to produce healthy babies—or any babies at all, experts find.

Yabba dabba doo? Scientist may have found the closest thing to the Flintstone's fictional pet Dino. And they say the species' island may have caused it to shrink.

Cone- and egg-carton-shaped formations in Western Australia were formed by mats of ancient microscopic organisms, new analysis suggests.

Flooded with carbon gas—the basis of life as we know it—a nearby star system may be incubating tar-covered worlds with diamond interiors, scientists speculate.

The traditionally western canine is proving highly adaptable to city living, turning up in major hubs throughout the eastern seaboard.

Northern animals are evolving to become more like southern ones as cooler climates grow warmer, according to new research.

Is your furry bundle of joy an invasive ecological disaster? Get a cat's eye view of one pet's nightly prowl to see how effectively kitty can kill.

Sensitive enough to detect the letters on a penny, a new film may give androids "feelings" and allow doctors to remotely sense invisible tumors.

A San Diego, California, company says it has bred low-allergen cats and is now taking orders for the reportedly sneeze-free kitties.

A thunderous explosion marked the completion of one of the world's largest dams Tuesday. We mark the occasion with a look at the big numbers—and controversy.

A mysterious package delivered last week to officials in Guatemala turned out to contain a priceless 1,500-year-old stone box that had been looted from a Maya cave.

Catch a glimpse of the people and wildlife that call the harsh environments of this southwestern African country their home.

+Teamgeist, German for "team spirit," is being touted as the most technologically advanced soccer ball ever, but some experts question how it's going to perform.

Early humans may have spread out of Africa after rapid climate change triggered advances in human thinking and behavior, new research suggests.

A hurricane warning has been announced for parts of Florida as tropical storm Alberto heads for a late Tuesday or early Wednesday landfall.

Scientists say they have traced 1,500-year-old axe blades found in the Caribbean to ancient Maya jade mines in Central America 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) away.

A converted spy plane ushers NASA scientists around the eye of the storm in search of real-time hurricane forecasts.

A new species of hammerhead shark has been discovered in South Carolina, but summer swimmers don't have to worry—it's the sharks that are in danger, experts say.

Once the likely first hurricane of 2006, tropical storm Alberto has lost much punch. Could the season as a whole fizzle too?

Forget the mouse that roared. Meet clawless Jack, the tabby that ran a black bear up a tree—twice.

A war of words continues to rage over the alleged discovery of an ancient pyramid in Bosnia.

Take a spin down Utah's Colorado River Scenic Byways, from the desert oasis of Zion National Park to the red-rock towers of Bryce Canyon.

From promoting public transportation to using solar power, World Cup organizers hope to offset the environmental damage caused by millions of fans.

A butterfly formed from two separate species has been discovered in South America. Experts say it's the product of an evolutionary process once thought impossible.

The warming effects of aircraft vapor trails could be eased with fewer night flights, especially during winter, the report says.

A feast for the eyes only, this is the first known live Laotian rock rat to be photographed.

Jaguar or wolf jaw parts may have formed jagged dentures for a man who lived in Mexico 4,500 years ago.

President Bush has designated the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands a U.S. national monument, creating the largest marine reserve in the world.

Related video: See the islands and their wildlife.

Unexpectedly "modern" for their 110-million-year-old age, new fossils in China hint that birds evolved earlier and faster than previously thought.

Larger-than-expected amounts of carbon lie trapped in permafrost, a find that has chilling implications for global warming, according to a new report.

See the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the eye-opening Eden that President George W. Bush has designated a U.S. national monument.

Fatherhood can be hard, especially if you're a seahorse. Join scientists as they explore seahorse families, where it's Dad who gets pregnant and gives birth.

Armed with toothbrushes and dish detergent, volunteer veterinarians and biologists travel the world to rescue seabirds fouled by oil spills.

Male redback spiders can speed up their sexual maturity if many females are nearby, research shows. But the suitors' drive to mate always ends in a date with death.

Despite losing an early vote, whaling countries led by Japan may have the numbers to weaken conservation measures.

As World Refugee Day (June 20) approaches, watch a 2002 interview with Angelina Jolie about why she wanted to help the UN raise awareness about the plight of refugees.

Gray-cheeked mangabey monkeys in Uganda use their knowledge of daily temperatures and sunlight to find the tastiest fruit and insect larvae, a new report suggests.

A circumhorizontal arc set the sky on fire earlier this month thanks to an unusual combination of meteorological events.

The blood-sucking bats are able to hear and remember the unique ultrasonic signature of an individual's breath, a new study finds.

A majority of countries at the International Whaling Commission meeting—though not the required three-quarters—voted to legalize commercial whaling.

More cheetahs are dying or getting injured during high-speed hunts in southern Africa's increasingly dense grasslands, conservationists say.

June 20, 2006—Watch Gen. Colin Powell's address at this morning's World Refugee Day event at National Geographic's Washington, D.C., headquarters.

See unique images of the flora and fauna of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands selected from the National Geographic book Archipelago.

The International Whaling Commission has unanimously endorsed evidence that marine mammals might be put at risk by loud undersea airgun bursts.

Gen. Colin Powell, Olympic speed skating champion Joey Cheek, and others marked the day by extolling "hope" among the displaced.

When it comes to understanding black holes, gravity only goes so far. A new study says a mighty magnetic wind helps orbiting matter fall into black holes.

With 300 years of pent-up stress simmering beneath it, southern California's infamous fault line is "fully charged" for a catastrophic earthquake, experts say.

Angering many snowmobilers and Jet Skiers, the new U.S. interior secretary proposed policies that restore conservation as the Park Service's top priority.

An agile Chinese orchid performs a floral version of sexual intercourse—with itself.

The 110-million-year-old silk strands, complete with entangled victims, support the idea that dino-era spiders could weave complex aerial webs.

Some 100,000-year-old seashells may be the oldest known form of personal ornamentation, challenging notions about the evolution of human culture.

Nearly twice as many wild giant pandas may be living in China than previously estimated, according to a DNA study of panda poop.

"You will believe a man can fly," the old movie posters proclaimed. Well, not quite. But you may be surprised at how rooted in fact the Man of Steel's abilities are.

Related Photos: Animals With "Superman Powers"

The Tuamotu islands near Tahiti seem like a priceless paradise. But experts warn the archipelago may soon vanish under the sea due to global warming.

With swirling sands periodically blasting Beijing, China is already approximately 17 percent desert, and that number is growing.

It's "nailed the coffin on the skeptics" says a prominent scientist of a new report that concludes that our planet is in a fever period.

The International Astronomical Union formally named two small moons of Pluto discovered last year.

Just like Superman, these creatures are "faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound."

Related Photos: Animals With "Superman Powers"

Too small to eat—or at least too much trouble—mouse lemurs have eluded hunting pressure on the African island.

Dozens of the endangered birds are washing up too starved and weak to care for themselves, and their own strong population recovery may be the culprit, experts say.

Get up close and personal with some of the event's most exuberant attendees.

Freeze-dried whiskers, skin, and bones provide the first hard evidence for a warming period in the South Pole between 2,300 and 1,100 years ago.

Squeezed into a six-figure shark costume, explorer Fabien Cousteau—Jacques's grandson—dove among great whites for the new TV special Shark: Mind of a Demon.

Related Photos: Shark-Shaped Sub, Inside and Out

A newly discovered snake species from Indonesia can switch from brown to white in a matter of minutes, WWF researchers recently announced.

Superstrength, superspeed, and other seemingly Kryptonian powers aren't just for the Man of Steel, as our photos of "supermanimals" make superclear.

Related Story: Super Animals: Fast Fliers, Heavy Lifters, and High Jumpers

Ships operating along the U.S. East Coast would be required to slow down to avoid striking right whales, a federal agency recently announced.

NOAA announced this week that a diverse coral community has been discovered off Washington State, and that the agency has banned destructive fishing in a coral-rich region of Alaska.

Fifteen lions went on a deadly search-and-rescue mission after militiamen stole three cubs, if news reports are to be believed. Some wildlife experts aren't so sure.

The century-old tree, probably featured on the back of the U.S. 20-dollar bill, was hauled off to the chipper this week.

Human-induced warming played a greater role than natural cycles in the rising sea-surface temperatures that fed last year's record hurricanes, a new analysis reveals.

Stilt-walking and half-amputated ants helped scientists solve the mystery of how the insects return straight home, even after extremely twisty trips.

Take a video tour of one of the United States' oldest neighborhoods, from the landmarks of the Freedom Trail to the bistros of its restaurant row.

A sarcophagus found in the famous Valley of the Kings has revealed desiccated flower garlands "never seen before" in real life.

The Raramuri people of northern Mexico practice a form of land management called kincentric ecology, treating the Earth like a human relative.

Will Discovery's upcoming flight mark a triumphant start to the shuttle program's twilight years, or will it signal that the program is too troubled to continue?

As the U.S. prepares to celebrate its 230th birthday, one of the country's most recognizable symbols has just finished getting an eight-year makeover.

Switching to backup electronics brought the instrument back online after several days of inactivity.

It's the resting place of countless Stone Age dead, but mystery lives on at Newgrange, a tomb with one feature that seems straight out of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

A 17th-century well has revealed thousands of artifacts that hint at how the bay's environment has changed since early colonial times.

Pigs' blood, magic powders, and hexes are just some of the "juju" tactics some believers employ to boost their team's performance.



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