NG Weekend: Why Mammoths Didn’t Freeze


This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about woolly mammoths, orphaned gorillas, Asiatic lions, Florida gators, laser archaeology, quirky festivals, Traveler on the iPad, and life in a one-room cabin.

Hour 1

  • Why would anyone choose to live in a 12-foot by 12-foot cabin without running water or electricity? William Powers tells Boyd that his stay in a rural North Carolina cabin gave him a new perspective. Powers joins Boyd to discuss his new book, Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid & Beyond the American Dream.
  • Kevin Campbell, a biologist at the University of Manitoba in Canada, and a team of scientists have recreated woolly mammoth hemoglobin, and in the process figured out how the mammoth survived freezing temperatures. Campbell tells Boyd it’s as if they’d gone back 40,000 years and taken a blood sample from a living mammoth.
  • Katie Fawcett directs Rwanda’s Karisoke Research Center, a program of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. Fawcett and her staff work to rehabilitate orphaned gorillas. As Fawcett tells Boyd, this sometimes means teaching the baby gorillas everything from how to find food to how to build a nest in the jungle.
  • While India’s tiger populations dwindle, wild Asiatic lions have been thriving lately in the country’s Gir National Park. This seems like good news for the lion’s prospects, but now there are issues with what to do with them all. Washington Post reporter Rama Lakshimi joins Boyd from India to discuss the problem.
  • All life on Earth may be more closely related than we ever suspected. So says David Braun, head of National Geographic News.

Hour 2

  • National Geographic Crittercam team member Kyler Abernathy recently returned from Cape Canaveral, Florida, where he was wrestling alligators. Abernathy tells Boyd how he and a group of scientists jumped on the backs of angry reptiles to strap on cameras.
  • For more than 20 years Diane and Arlan Chase, professors of anthropology at the University of Central Florida, have conducted fieldwork on the Mayan city of Caracol in Belize. Just this past year, through the use of lasers, they were able to get a comprehensive picture of the ancient city for the first time. The Chases join Boyd to explain how new technology is helping them survey the jungle floor.
  • Keith Bellows, Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Traveler magazine, joins Boyd to talk about the publication’s launch on the iPad. Bellows and Boyd discuss what the new platform offers both publishers and readers.
  • 2010 National Geographic Emerging Explorer Saleem Ali may be an environmental scientist, but he thinks like a diplomat, a wealthy industrialist, an impoverished villager, a government regulator, a product innovator, and a father. Ali joins Boyd to talk about his book Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed, and a Sustainable Future.
  • Intelligent Travel blog editor Janelle Nanos joins Boyd to share stories about unusual museums and music festivals with habitable beer cans.

Hear National Geographic Weekend on XM/Sirius satellite radio (XM channel 133 Sundays at noon), subscribe to the iTunes podcast, or get the show streamed to your iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, or Android OS phone with Stitcher Radio.

Art by Charles R. Knight/National Geographic Stock

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