For the first time in almost 100 years, scientists have identified a new species of river dolphin. The Araguaian river dolphin (Inia araguaiaensis) lives in Brazil’s Araguaia-Tocantins river basin. There are only a handful of species of river dolphin, so the discovery of a new species is an exciting development. Sadly, all of the river dolphin species in the world, including this one, are at risk of extinction because of habitat destruction, damming, overfishing and sonar pollution.
The Araguaian river dolphin is most closely related to the Amazon river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis) and the Bolivian river dolphin (Inia boliviensis), which some consider a subspecies of the Amazon river dolphin.
Researchers at the Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM) and the National Research Institute of the Amazon (INPA) in Manaus, Brazil, and the Centre for Remote Environments at the University of Dundee in the UK studied the morphological characteristics, the nuclear DNA and the mitochondrial DNA of the Araguaian dolphin. They compared them with those of the Amazon and Bolivian river dolphins. Their studies led them to conclude that the Araguaian river dolphin is, indeed, a separate species.
The scientists estimate that the newly identified species diverged …
Amboseli National Park is located in Kenya, in the Rift Valley Province, in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest mountain in Africa.
It is about 160 miles (260 kilometers) from Nairobi.
The park is near the Tanzanian border. (Mount Kilimanjaro itself is in Tanzania.)
It is covered in savanna and tropical grassland.
The region does not get much rain – an average of only 14 inches (35 centimeters) per year – and much of the land is dusty and dry. Lake Amboseli, which was formed in the Pleistocene era, is now a dry basin that becomes a true lake only after it rains.
However, underground rivers are nourished by melting snow from Kilimanjaro. At the base of the mountain, springs and swamps that are fed by these rivers help to support a large variety of wildlife, including lions, cheetahs, hyenas, monkey, impalas, wildebeest and zebra. The black rhinoceros, a critically endangered species, is found here.
This is one of the best places in Africa for elephant-watching. A herd of about 900 elephants lives here.
More than 400 species of bird are native to the region.
The area has been home to the Masaai people for hundreds of years, …
Abu Simbel in Egypt is a site containing two magnificent temples, carved in rock, that were built for the pharaoh Ramses II. Abu Simbel is on the west bank of Lake Nasser, in Nubia, near the border with Sudan.
The Temple of Ramses, the larger of the two temples, is considered one of the ancient world’s greatest architectural works.
This temple was carved into the side of a mountain between 1244 and 1224 BCE (BC). It was built to commemorate Egypt’s victory over the Hittites at the Battle of Kadesh.
Four enormous seated status of the pharaoh, carved out of rock, guard the entrance, which faces east. Smaller statues of Ramses’ children and of Nefertari, Ramses’ favorite wife, stand next to him.
Above the entrance is a statue of the god Ra Harakhti, who is depicted with the head of a falcon.
The top frieze of the temple consists of a row of carvings of baboons.
Eight giant statues of Ramses form pillars inside the temple’s great hall.
Within the temple, there are statues of four gods: Ramses II, who has been deified, Amon Ra, Ra Harakhti, and Ptah, the god of the underworld. On February 22 and October 24, …
Asia is the largest continent on Earth, in area as well as in population.
Here are just some of Asia’s incredible sites.
The Himalayas are the Earth’s highest mountain range as measured from sea level. They lie on the border between Nepal and Tibet.
The Himalayas form a shallow crescent that ranges from 160km (100mi) to 240km (150mi) wide, and is around 2,415km (1,500mi) long, roughly the distance from London to Moscow.
Three of the world’s largest rivers – the Indus to the north and west, the Brahmaputra to the north and east, and the Ganges to the south – encircle the Himalayas almost completely.
The Himalayas are actually composed of three separate mountain ranges. The lowest and southernmost range, known as the Siwalik Hills, has peaks reaching around 1,500m (5,000ft) above sea level. Farther north are the Lesser Himalayas, around three times as high. Both ranges are patterned with fertile valleys where the climate is mild and many villages thrive.
The northernmost range, the Greater Himalayas, contains Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain. Mount Everest is 8,848m (29,028ft) above sea level.
The name “Himalayas” comes from the Sanskrit word for “abode of snow” – a reference to the …
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