Natural History News

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Paragominas, a Brazilian municipality roughly the size of New Jersey, was once the site of rapid deforestation, losing its forests faster than any other area of the Amazon. However, the Brazilian government in partnership with The Nature Conservancy has put a stop to illegal deforestation and turn Paragominas into a "Green City."

The Nature Conservancy has been working since 2009 to end illegal deforestation in the Amazon, and recent efforts by local government officials have managed to accomplish the task in Paragominas.

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Kanha National Park is home to a wide variety of creatures from tigers to peacocks to elephants. It is such a scenic nature travel destination that Rudyard Kipling used it as his inspiration for the classic children's story, The Jungle Book.

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The Arenal Volcano is one of Costa Rica's most extraordinary sites, drawing thousands on Costa Rica tours every year. This nearly-perfect, conical volcano reaches 5,357 feet into the sky and for the past 40 years has offered regular eruptions that fascinate locals and visitors alike.

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Many of the stops on a Turkey and Greece cruise have more to do with ancient Greek and Roman cultures than Christianity, but Meryemana, or the House of the Virgin, is an exception.

Local legend tells that this house, now a church, is the place Mary fled to after Jesus was crucified. Located between Ephesus and Seljuk, Turkey, the site has received the official sanction of the Vatican and is now a popular site for religious pilgrims.

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Between July and October, more than two million ungulates migrate from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The movement of these animals - mainly made up of wildebeests - is the largest of any in the world.

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While art, music and textiles are some the best known contributions of Mali culture that visitors can experience, architecture is a creative venue that is especially rich in this West African country. One of Mali’s most distinct architectural wonders is the Grand Mosque of Djenné.

Considered by many architects to be the greatest achievement of the Sudano-Sahelian architectural style, the mosque is the largest mud brick building in the world, according to Sacred-Destinations.com.

November 08, 2011

Stargazing on the Amazon River

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South America is different from its northern counterpart in many ways, but this will be especially apparent to stargazers or amateur astrologists searching the night skies. Nights on IE’s Amazon River tours offer plenty of time to admire the stars of the Southern Hemisphere. Some of the constellations seen in these areas are seasonal but others are circumpolar, so they can always be spotted.

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From the pyramids to the Nile, an Egypt tour has an aspect of adventure and discovery unmatched by any other place on earth. But why? As Gina Davidson writes for the Scotsman, Egyptians didn't exactly do that much for modern society. The preoccupation with Romans makes sense, as they left behind legacies such as roads, viaducts and bridges that we still use today. But Egyptians, with their hieroglyphs, mummies and animal-headed gods left us fascinating artifacts for museums.

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Researchers from Case Western Reserve University recently found the oldest fossils on the South American continent along the banks of the Ucayali River, an offshoot of the Amazon River.

The fossils, which are at least 41 million years old, are the teeth of mouse and rat-sized animals that experts say are most closely related to African rodents. They are from the suborder Caviomorpha, which means they are related to living species such as guinea pigs, chinchillas and New World porcupines.

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One of the most exciting aspects of a Turkey and Greece cruise is reliving the ancient history that is scattered across the islands and peninsulas. In ancient times and today, people were familiar with Aphrodite, the goddess of love. But it was not until Praxiteles, a sculptor from the 4th century B.C., made his famous work that the world came to know her in the buff.

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