Just north of the Antarctic Peninsula, there’s a small, ice-covered island shaped like an elephant’s head. Each year, despite brutal winds and a landscape of crags, cliffs, and glaciers, hundreds of thousands of chinstrap penguins manage to nest on these shores, creating a living sea of black-and-white feathers. “They’re like little mountaineers,” says Noah Strycker,…

Patience Bulus and Esther Joshua held hands as they were marched out of their dorm room at gunpoint that April night. Herded into the back of an open-bed truck, they lost their grip on each other. Amid the mass of frightened students, Patience heard Esther’s soft voice ask, “What will happen?” Then someone jumped off…

A new fossil find has set paleontologists abuzz: Ancient nests confirm that bees were alive and well in Patagonia 100 million years ago, marking the oldest fossil evidence for modern bees. The nests, described recently in the journal PLOS ONE, consist of tunnels studded with grape-shaped alcoves, where the ancient bees’ larvae could mature undisturbed.…

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Yongkang is considered the “hardware capital of China.” Buried in the heart of the country’s eastern province of Zhejiang, the city’s ten thousand or so factories churn out products such as robot arms, automobile parts, and household appliances, spreading $4-billion worth of merchandise across the globe every year. At least, that was life in Yongkang—whose…

Pangolins have long provided meat and traditional medicine for people in Africa and Asia. Recently, though, demand for pangolin scales—used mainly in China and Vietnam for a variety of ailments—has grown to the point that geographic boundaries are blurring. Vast quantities of them are now being smuggled from Africa to Asia, despite an international trade…

On the ice-covered edge of a remote West Antarctic bay, the continent’s most imperiled glaciers threaten to redraw Earth’s coastlines. Pine Island Glacier and its neighbor Thwaites Glacier are the gateway to a massive cache of frozen water, one that would raise global sea levels by four feet if it were all to spill into…

Photographer Kristian Laine was freediving recently off the southernmost island of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef when a bright pink manta ray glided by. He thought for sure that his camera was malfunctioning. “I had no idea there were pink mantas in the world, so I was confused and thought my strobes were broken or doing…

It’s dawn, and a crowd is gathering on a farm outside of Eunice, Louisiana. Although it’s Carnival time in New Orleans, about three hours away, this crowd has no passion for beads or sequined high heels. Here, chicken-chasing rules the day. The Courir de Mardi Gras, a lesser known country cousin of the Fat Tuesday…

About 250 species of subterranean fish are known on Earth, eking out a living in a world of permanent dark and scant food. They are usually small, generally a few inches long, since there’s usually little food or prey to eat. But in an underground chamber in northeastern India, researchers have discovered a cave fish…