Overheard at National Geographic


Smuggled dinosaur bones. Man-made glaciers. An audacious quest to find the world's southernmost tree. Each week, we'll dive into one of the curiously delightful conversations we've overheard around National Geographic's headquarters. You'll be introduced to the explorers, photographers and scientists at the edges of our big, bizarre, and beautiful world. Hosted by Peter Gwin and Amy Briggs.

How I Learned to Love Zombie Parasites
33 views about 2 months ago

Photographer Anand Varma details his very first natural history adventures—not in Amazonian rainforests or on Polynesian coral reefs but in suburban Atlanta—and how a childhood fascination with catching frogs and turtles in his backyard led to a career documenting the fantastical worlds of “zombie” parasites, fire ant colonies, vampire bats, hummingbirds, and jellyfish.   Want More? Read about the zombie parasites that control their hosts, and watch a video of these mindsuckers here. Also check out Mexico’s carnivorous bats, and go behind the lens with Anand as he attempts to capture the iconic shot of a honeybee emerging from a brood cell for the first time.   Also explore: The science of hummingbirds and what makes these birds the perfect flying machines.   Got something to say? Contact us: overheard@natgeo.com

The Failing of War Photography
31 views 2 months ago

Anastasia Taylor-Lind talks about how she grew up living the life of a modern gypsy, traveling across southern England in the back of a horse-drawn wagon, and how her experiences covering conflicts in Iraq and Ukraine forever changed the way she views storytelling and war photography.   Want More? You can see the photo of the female Peshmerga soldier that launched Anastasia’s career on her website along with many of her other projects. Read Anastasia’s essay “The Most Frightening Thing About War” here. Check out the story Peter Gwin and Anastasia collaborated on about riding Arabian horses in Oman. You can watch Anastasia’s TED talk “Fighters and Mourners of the Ukrainian Revolution.”   Also explore: See our story on soldiers using art to reveal the trauma of war and learn about today’s battlefields, where more women than ever are on the front lines of armed conflict and as peacekeepers in the world’s hot spots.   Got something to say? Contact us: overheard@natgeo.com

The Canary of the Sea
29 views 2 months ago

Chirp. Whistle. Creak. Beluga whales, the canaries of the sea, have a lot to say. But noise from ships can drown out their calls, putting calves in danger. What happens when humans press pause during the coronavirus pandemic—and finally give ocean life some peace and quiet? For more on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/podcasts/overheard. Want more? Ever wonder why ocean animals eat plastic? The answer is surprisingly complicated.  Whales around the world are still being hunted for their meat. But in Iceland that might be ending. Also explore: Take in the breathtaking sight of hundreds of beluga whales gathering in the Arctic. Check out the very first episode of Overheard for another story on how whales communicate. And for paid subscribers: The graphics team at Nat Geo has mapped out the effects of shipping on Arctic sea ice. Read Craig Welch’s reporting on the changing Arctic, including how the thawing of permafrost affects us all. See photos of whales taken by a Nat Geo explorer who’s spent 10,000 hours underwater.  Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com

A Spore of Hope
40 views 3 months ago

Humans face an existential problem: feeding billions of people in a warming world. But there’s a ray of hope. And it all starts with microbes.  For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? Microbes are everywhere! Learn about the bacteria living in the depths of the Mariana Trench, in the Pacific Ocean, and what they might tell us about life in outer space on one of Jupiter’s moons. Microbes have been around a long time! Check out the world’s oldest fossilized fungus. Also explore: Read more about the “communication” between fungi and plants happening under our feet. Listen to Nat Geo contributor Joel Bourne Jr. discuss his book, The End of Plenty. And for paid subscribers: How the tiny country of the Netherlands is pioneering the future of sustainable agriculture. And learn all about the trillions of microbes that live inside us! Got something to say? Contact us: overheard@natgeo.com

The Tree at the End of the World
36 views 3 months ago

A harrowing journey is all in a day's work for a Nat Geo explorer trying to find the world’s southernmost tree. But what happens when a self-proclaimed "normal human being" tags along? For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/podcasts/overheard. Want more? Read Craig’s story, and see pictures of the journey and the world’s southernmost tree. A nature reserve in the Cape Horn archipelago has the “world's cleanest rain and cleanest streams.” Learn how scientists are protecting it. Nat Geo Explorer Brian Buma is no stranger to scientific adventures. Read about the time he went into the field with old photos, a metal detector, and bear mace. Also explore: Take a virtual trip with these photos of 19 iconic trees from around the world.   And for paid subscribers: Follow as Craig witnesses “the big meltdown” in Antarctica.   Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com