National Geographic : 2014 Aug
PHOTO: MAI SY LUAN, CAT BA LANGUR CONSERVATION PROJECT. ART: ÁLVARO VALIÑO. NGM MAPS NEXT The brains of BALLET DANCERS become desensitized to dizziness. The discovery may hold clues for treating vertigo. • Teeth of marine mollusks are made of MAGNETITE and are harder than the teeth of any other organism. • An Israeli botanist has successfully grown an extinct JUDAEAN DATE PALM TREE from 2,000-year-old seeds discovered by archaeologists. • Water filters made of CILANTRO were shown to be highly absorbent, able to remove heavy metals such as lead from drinking water. ET CETERA Primate Rescue The Cat Ba langur is one of the world’s most critically endangered primates. The population of the raccoon-size Vietnamese species has dwindled from an estimated 2,500 in the 1960s to roughly 55 today, primar- ily due to poaching. Researchers had noticed a decline but didn’t know how dramatic it was until a 1999 census was taken. But the species may be headed for a revival. To deter hunters, the Vietnamese government established a core protected area within a national park. Biologists with the Cat Ba Langur Conser- vation Project have moved two females to the area to spur more births. Some locals are even helping by recording sightings. “At this point,” says zoologist Rick Passaro, “the numbers are poised not to explode, but certainly to take off.” — Daniel Stone 0mi 200 0km 200 CHINA LAOS VIETNAM Cat Ba Island Hainan Hanoi South China Sea Cat Ba langurs (top), found only on Vietnam’s Cat Ba Island, were hunted for use in traditional medicine. Eight of the 15 fastest-growing large U.S . cities in 2011–12 were in Texas.