How to Lose World Heritage Site Status

A swath of desert just inland from the Arabian Sea coast and a meandering stretch of a major central European river framed by 18th and 19th-century architecture may not seem as though they would have anything in common, but they very much do. Oman’s Arabian Oryx Sanctuary and Germany’s Dresden Elbe Valley are the only two…

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Popularity of Dog Breeds in Various Countries

Note: This article capitalises proper names of dog breeds as per Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) standard. Although the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) was domesticated from the grey wolf no later than 15 000 years ago and possibly tens of thousands of years before that, most modern breeds of dogs as we know them are…

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Surtsey: Evolution of an Island

For the past half-century, the Icelandic island of Surtsey has been the ultimate laboratory.  Not only were scientists able to watch the live birth of a volcanic island as it emerged newborn from the ocean floor in late 1963, but they have been able to observe the development of the island as plant and animal…

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The Dingo Fence

Australia is divided by sport (the Barassi Line) and by topography (the Great Dividing Range), but perhaps its most iconic division is a basic two-metre-high fence.  Basic, perhaps, by its construction (wire mesh extending 180 cm/6 ft high and 30 cm/1 ft deep), but certainly not by length: at 5 614 km (3 488 mi) in length,…

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Jellyfish Lake Has a Very Apt Name

JELLYFISH LAKE from Sarosh Jacob on Vimeo Click the above picture to expand it to full size (3456×2304) and look closely both at and beneath the surface of the lake.  Every single one of those dots is a jellyfish.  Source: LuxTonnere, http://www.flickr.com/photos/86265563@N00/2346941293.  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence. Based upon the imagery above,…

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Buffalo Jumps

I remember the first time I heard the phrase Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, the name of a historic site in southern Alberta. I was just a little, little kid; one who couldn’t believe that there could be a place with a name that brilliant/gory/convoluted/awesome .But what did it actually mean? The definition of a buffalo jump…

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Wallacea – The Bridge Between Asia and Australia

Our inherent need to categorise and compartmentalise often leads to some major geographic conundrums, especially when we can’t agree on the final organisation. Take this article from earlier this year on the number of continents, for example. A continent is the most basic unit of land, and yet we can’t even agree what constitutes a continent, let…

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