National Geographic : 1979 Jan
ON JANUARY 7, National Geographic Specials will begin a fourth season over television stations of the Public Broadcasting Service-an event that has become a happening. Last year, "The Great Whales" and "The Living Sands of Namib" drew the largest audiences of all PBS pro grams rated during the season, and "The Great Whales" went on to win a coveted Emmy award. We rejoice in such success, not only for the men and women who work so hard to make good programs possible, but also because it means significant numbers of television viewers appreciate informative and inter esting programming. We believe that the same standards we seek to maintain in our magazine and other publications can be maintained on television, and not only sur vive but be welcomed. Our new season opens with "Gold!"-a report on the lure and beauty of the precious metal. A mine in South Africa, a treasure hunters' excavation of an ancient Colom bian grave, a gold-bedecked wedding in India, and the vault at Fort Knox are among the settings for the story. On January 28, "Hong Kong: A Family Portrait" will show you the Crown Colony from a view seldom shared by the tourist. We come to know the members of a Chinese family and see through their eyes that re markable Far Eastern economic machine. The scene shifts to East Africa on March 4 and a drama of utmost importance to all those who revere the wildlife threatened by poachers and changing land use. "Last Stand in Eden" tells the story of elephants forced into a farm area, and the complexity of rights and wrongs that results. The season concludes on April 1 with "The Tigris Expedition." With Norwegian mariner-adventurer Thor Heyerdahl, we sail aboard the reed boat Tigris through waters traveled by the ancient Sumerians, along sea routes by which man's earliest civilizations may have spread. As in previous seasons, the Society and station WQED in Pittsburgh, our PBS asso ciate, are indebted to Gulf Oil Corporation, whose generous grants make these pro grams possible. We are indebted most, how ever, to the millions of viewers who continue to approve of good programming. ^ ^_y A MGfEOGXALPH1IC THE NATIONALGEOGRAPHICMAGAZINEVOL. 155, NO. 1 COPYRIGHT© 1978 BY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY WASHINGTON,D. C. INTERNATIONALCOPYRIGHTSECURED January 1979 HUMPBACK WHALES I-The Gentle Giants 2 Marine biologist Sylvia A. Earle and photographer Al Giddings swim confidently among those benign behemoths off Hawaii and Alaska. ii-Their Mysterious Songs 18 A 12-year study by zoologist Roger Payne and his wife of the complex, ever changing sounds made by humpbacks suggests that the "songs" may relate to social behavior and possibly even intelligence. An accompanying sound sheet reproduces some of these haunting sequences, as yet unfathomed. Los Angeles: City in Search of Itself 26 The era of freewheeling sprawl, smog, and show biz runs into a space problem, and a flood of Spanish-speaking newcomers brings a new flavor. William S. Ellis and Jodi Cobb explore what's happening in our third largest metropolis. Stone Age Past and Present Meet in Brazil 60 Primitive Amazonian Indians help unearth a shelter where their forebears may have worshiped the sun at least 9,000 years ago. W. Jesco von Puttkamer documents one of the oldest human sites yet found in South America. The Incredible World of Diamonds 85 Why is the hardest of substances ever more precious to man? Fred Ward visits mines, cutting rooms, dealers, and buyers on four continents to assess thatfabulous crystal. Bison Kill by Ice Age Hunters 114 Bones and spearpointsfound in Colorado reveal how Paleo-Indiansslaughtered huge buffalo by the hundreds. Anthropologist Dennis Stanford visualizes the ritual, and actually butchers a dead zoo elephant using stone tools. Time of Testing for Sri Lanka 123 The Resplendent Land, long known as Ceylon, pushes ambitious plansfor critically needed new jobs and farmlands. Story by Robert Paul Jordan, with photographs by Raghubir Singh. COVER: Symbols of life's frailty, flowers are laid at the feet of a colossal Buddha in Sri Lanka. Photograph by Raghubir Singh.