National Geographic : 2012 Dec
NEXT PHOTOS: PANTHERA TOP ; JEANNE M. MODDERMAN, NGM STAFF. NGM MAPS. GRAPHIC: ÁLVARO VALIÑO SOURCE: POPULATION REFERENCE BUREAU Jaguar Corridor Big cats need room to roam. In the case of jaguars that's a stretch from Mexico to Argentina, and human development is getting in their way. Con- servationists can usher them across highways with underpasses, but the jaguars balk at crossing the cultivated fields that have re- placed their natural cover---especially soy, corn, and oil palm crops in Colombia's Magdalena River Valley. The farms are massive, with no way around besides the prohibitively high Andes. The first camera-trap photos of a mother and cubs (above) in one sprawling oil palm plantation indicate hope for range preservation for the next generation. Females signal not just quick passage but a stay for reproduction, says Panthera's Howard Quigley. ---Johnna Rizzo Gene Slice Botanists say it's a fruit; the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it a vegetable. One thing's certain: The tomato has about 7,000 more genes than a person. Surprising? Not to the USDA's Jim Giovannoni, who helped lead the newly completed sequencing of the tomato genome. Big genomes allow immobile plants to tolerate genetic changes that can spur new ways of coping with adversity, he explains. Decoding the tomato makes breeding easier---and it revealed a 92 percent genomic match with the potato. ---Luna Shyr Afghanistan 44 years Japan 83 0mi 200 0km200 Caribbean Sea PACIFIC OCEAN Magd alena Bogotá COLOMBIA VENEZ. PANAMA Photo location The average life expectancy of a child born in Japan is almost double that of one born in Afghanistan. O Get updates on our Big Cats Initiative at causeanuproar.com.