Sciencetelling Stories

The Glorious Primitive Crane Fly

(Patagonia’s Untold Stories)   Scraping sand grains and pebbles for nutrients, it has wandered the river bed for ten months.  After hiding from predators under submerged rocks it is time to leave the safety of the river behind. Among ...

The Rare Primitive Crane Fly and the Inelegancies to Find It

(Patagonia’s Untold Stories) While packrafting the southeastern edge of the Northern Patagonia Ice Field along Chile’s largest river, the Baker, in search of primitive crane flies, Anand Varma and I came across an exciting find. In a fragmented ...

Just a Seagull? Nope

There's no such thing as a seagull, according to certain pedants. How can that be? Because it's a gull—actually, one of about fifty gull species living in habitats all over the world, oceanic and otherwise. They range from the ...

Cliffhanger! Risking Life and Limb for Fluffy Seabirds

 Supposedly I didn’t show any fear during my first abseil, down a 70-meter seacliff south of Dunedin, New Zealand. Thank you, poker face. But in truth, it was amazement more than fear that I felt while hanging vertiginously over ...

Where the Glaciers Vanish

Where the Glaciers Vanish (Patagonia’s Untold Stories) Halfway buried in the sand lays the forgotten skull of a whale. Its flesh has been removed by the gentle erosion sustained by the pulsating sea. Its white form contrasts the dark ...

Donde los Glaciares Desaparecen

(Relatos inéditos de la Patagonia) Parcialmente enterrado en la arena reposa el olvidado cráneo de una ballena adulta. Sus tejidos han sido lentamente erosionados por el incesante vaivén de las olas. La blanca escultura ósea contrasta con ...

A Battle of Dinosaurs: Crocs vs. Birds

The rains ended months ago, starving the Msicadzi of its flow and surrendering it to dust. It wouldn’t be much longer before the river was gone. For now, all that was left was a pool, a hundred feet long ...

Thrills, Spills, and Seabirds in the Subantarctic

This is Part Three of “Voyage of the Yellow-eyed Penguin” (See Part One, Part Two, Part Four) Endangered (by) Sea Lions Alternate title: Mom, Don’t Read This One 11 November 2017 Chambres Inlet Imagine you’ve sailed 300 miles south of New ...

Penguins Wanted

This is Part Two of “Voyage of the Yellow-eyed Penguin” (See Part One, Part Three, Part Four) The Search 8 November 2017 Port Ross and Enderby Island It was cold and clear and very dark when six hardy souls climbed over the ...

Voyage of the Yellow-eyed Penguin

The latest numbers say that yellow-eyed penguins are still heading toward extinction on mainland New Zealand. Their only other breeding habitat is a handful of islands hundreds of miles to the south. In this four-part story I join a surreal ...

Residual Fragments of Past Lives

Stacked image of live Psychodidae pupa. (R. Isaí Madriz) Residual Fragments of Past Lives (Patagonia’s Untold Stories) Decaying fragments hang from the cavity’s roof as streaks of viscous dark red liquid meander down its sides. The peculiar scent ...

Fragmentos Residuales de Vidas Pasadas

Fragmentos Residuales de Vidas Pasadas (Relatos Inéditos de la Patagonia)   Con solo la parte superior de mi cuerpo dentro de la estrecha cavidad, miro hacia arriba con asombro. El sonido del silencio es abrumador. Fragmentos en descomposición cuelgan ...

A Parable of Refugees, or a History That Is True

I want to take you back nearly 80 years, to Mexico City in 1939, when Lázaro Cárdenas, a revolutionary-turned-politician, sat in the president’s seat and made a decision that no other president in the world would make. Across the ...