They just had basic gear, wandering in a cave, when lamplight caught something on the wall. An image of an animal’s leg. “Paintings!” one of the cavers shouted.
Strange and fundamental things have been found in just the same way. But the discoveries in this 1,600-foot cave in northern Spain yielded a treasure in our understanding of the earliest human artistic expression in Europe—and a chronicle of living through the Ice Age.
A fluttering quest: Nat Geo Explorer Rena Effendi’s father, a Soviet butterfly scientist, was elusive. So after his death, when Effendi stumbled upon a Wikipedia article about a butterfly named after him, Effendi (shown above) became obsessed with finding the orange insect with owl-like eyes. The only problem: it fluttered along the border of warring Armenia and Azerbaijan. Hear Effendi’s wild, adventurous story on the latest episode of Overheard at Nat Geo, our award-winning podcast.
Now, I am become Death: From the first nuclear explosion in 1945 until a moratorium in 1992, the United States conducted 1,054 nuclear tests. Detonated across the U.S.—and on islands in the Pacific Ocean when the bombs were especially destructive (like the 21-kiloton bomb detonated on Bikini Atoll, pictured above)—the consequences are still felt today. “Any person living in the contiguous United States since 1951 has been exposed to radioactive fallout from testing,” one joint study reveals, according to Lesley M. M. Blume for Nat Geo.
Latin America is always on one side amazing landscapes and nature, and on the other side social crisis… There are a lot of things going on in the middle that don’t get visibility. And I wanted to tell stories from that point of view.
Out there: There's something peaceful about paddling under the stars. This self-portrait, from our Instagram page, was taken at Goat Pond in Kananaskis Country, a park system in the front ranges and foothills of the Canadian Rockies. “For this shot, I used the intervalometer built into my camera and then set off in my inflatable kayak to situate myself within the frame,” says photographer Paul Zizka. “Capturing a reflection of the stars above required absolute stillness and provided the perfect opportunity to soak in this incredible scene.”