National Geographic : 2009 Jun
INSIDE GEOGRAPHIC Fieldwork National Geographic Society programs support scientific research, geographic exploration, and environmental conservation around the globe. O Find more at news.nationalgeographic.com/fieldwork. PHOTOS: ZEMARYALAI TARZI LEFT ; ROSS MCDERMOTT This Year in NGS History 1968 Biologist Fred Urquhart gets funding to study monarch butterflies. He eventually solved the mystery of their migration: Hundreds of millions fly more than 2,000 miles to the same mountain range in Mexico every year. MADAGASCAR The lemur is the best known animal in this island nation. But conservationist Luke Dollar protects the fossa, a mongoose cousin that eats lemurs. The feared predator is crucial to the balance of shrinking forests. SPAIN El Castillo is home to prehis- toric cave art dating back some 28,000 years. By analyzing stencils of hands adorning its walls, archaeologist Dean Snow found that many of the cave's Paleolithic-period artists were women, suggesting their role in prehistoric culture may have been greater than thought. PERU A rain-starved village outside Lima is coaxing water out of the air, with help from biologist Kai Tiedemann. The method: harvesting fog. Condensed on nets, fog provides enough water for nearly 700 fruit trees. U.S.A. A paradegoer's '50s skirt at the 2008 Mud Bowl in North Conway, New Hampshire, caught the eye of NGS Young Explorer Ross McDermott. He's documenting offbeat festivals for glimpses into small-town life. AFGHANISTAN Search for Buddha Whenthe Taliban blew up two colossal Buddha statues in Bamian in 2001, Afghan-born archaeologist Zemaryalai Tarzi was devastated. He'd safeguarded them with steel reinforcements as the country's director of archae- ology in the 1970s. Now Tarzi is determined to bring Bamian's other ancient riches to light. He returned there to begin new excavations in 2002, after 23 years in exile. His quest is for a third giant Buddha, one that's reclining and is believed to extend a thousand feet. Along the way, Tarzi is unearthing and restoring important reminders---such as this fourth-century Buddha head---of a diverse heritage and a more peaceful past. He hopes these discoveries will help his shattered country heal from decades of violence.