Turtle Chirps, Volcanic Whistles

Anathasius Kircher, a 17th-century German Jesuit priest and scholar, had interests ranging from fossils to hieroglyphics to micro-organisms and volcanoes, was above all a master of expressing wonder at the natural world. He proposed, among many other things, the idea of a parabolic horn, an amplification system for sound waves. In the illustration below, the…

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Curlew Farewell

The last time an Eskimo Curlew was seen and positively identified, it suffered the same fate as when it was first officially identified and illustrated by John James Audubon himself: It was shot and then examined by an ornithologist. It’s been exactly fifty years since that last bird was felled, and as such, it has…

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