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Nature and Environment

Isolated population of rare great apes found in Indonesia

Orangutans are the only great apes in Asia. In 2001, the orangutans of Sumatra and Borneo were recognized as two distinct species. Now, researchers have found a third: the Tapanuli orangutan, which lives in the southern range of Sumatran orangutans, in Batang Toru. They are, in fact, the most imperiled great apes in the world. Only an estimated 800 individuals exist in a fragmented habitat.

Nature and Environment

Majestic tree found in the Atlantic forest in Brazil

Towering up to 40 meters (130 feet) high and weighing an estimated 56,000 kilos (62 tons), this majestic tree, named Dinizia jueirana-facao, was found in the Atlantic forest in northern Espirito Santo, Brazil. Large in dimensions, the tree is limited in numbers – only 25 of the trees exist, making it a critically endangered species.

Nature and Environment

Beetle that looks like part of an ant found in Costa Rica

This tiny beetle is called Nymphister kronaueri and lives among ants in Costa Rica. The beetle is only 1.5 millimeters long (0.05 inches) and its body is the precise size, shape and color of the abdomen of a worker ant. When the nomadic ants move to a new location, the beetle travels along, using its mouthparts to grab onto the abdomen of its host, letting the ant do all the walking.

Nature and Environment

Deepest fish in the sea found in the Western Pacific Ocean

The dark abyss of the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific contains the deepest spot in the world's oceans. And that's where the pseudoliparis swirei was found, a small, tadpole-like fish that belongs to the snailfish family and measures 12 centimeters (4 inches) in length. It's the deepest-dwelling fish ever recorded, captured at depths of between 6,800 and 7,900 meters (22,000 and 26,000 feet).

Nature and Environment

Plant that partners with a fungus found in Japan

Most plants capture solar energy to feed themselves via photosynthesis. A few, like the newly discovered S. sugimotoi, get their sustenance from other organisms. In this case, the plant is symbiotic with a fungus, which it derives nutrition from without harming it. Its delicate pink blossoms only appear during a short flowering peroid, on Japan's Ishigaki Island.

Nature and Environment

Bright amphipod found in the chilly waters of the Antarctic Ocean

This invertebrate, about 5 centimeters (2 inches) in length, was spotted in the glacial waters of the Southern Ocean encircling Antarctica. It's an amphipod called Epimeria quasimodo, in reference to its somewhat humped back. It has incredible spines and vivid colors and its crested adornments are reminiscent of mythological dragons.

Nature and Environment

Bacterium that looks like hair found on the Canary Islands

When a submarine volcano erupted off the coast of El Hierro in the Canary Islands, it wiped out much of the existing marine ecosystem. But scientists have found the first colonizers of this deposited area: Thiolava veneris, a new species of proteobacteria producing long, hair-like structures composed of bacterial cells within a sheath and forming a massive white mat.

Nature and Environment

Fossil of a marsupial lion found in Australia

Scientists recovered fossils in Queensland, Australia to a previously unknown lion-like marsupial that roamed Australia's open forest in the late Oligocene age, which ended about 23 million years ago. It was about the size of a Siberian husky dog and spent part of its time in trees. Its teeth suggest it was not completely reliant on meat but was, rather, an omnivore.

Nature and Environment

Unicellular organism found in an aquarium in California

This single-celled protist was discovered on a brain coral in an aquarium in San Diego, California, USA. The geographic origin of the species in the wild is not known. It's called ancoracysta twistan and is a predatory flagellate that uses its whip-like flagella to propel itself, and unusual harpoon-like organelles to immobilize other protists on which it feeds.

Nature and Environment

Cave-dwelling beetle found in China

A new species of troglobitic beetle adapted to life in the permanent darkness of caves was discovered in a cave in Du'an, Guangxi Province, China. Called Xuedytes bellus, the beetle only grows to about 9 millimeters (half an inch) in length and is striking in the dramatic elongation of its head and the body segment immediately behind the head.

Travel

Triglav: Orchids and Edelweiss

Mount Triglav lends its name to Slovenia's only national park. The origin of the name, which means "three-headed," is disputed. Some attribute it to the mountain's three-peaked appearance from certain angles. Others claim a Slavic deity of the same name has his throne at the summit. If so, he must have a breathtaking view of its forested slopes, and meadows strewn with wildflowers.

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Bialowieza: Europe's oldest forests

Protected for centuries as a hunting ground for Polish and then Russian monarchs, Bialowieza National Park retains the last of Europe's primeval lowland forest. Once under royal patronage, its native bison were hunted to extinction by the early 20th century. But they have since been reintroduced, and several herds thrive in the ancient woodland.

Travel

Saxon Switzerland: German romanticism

Saxon Switzerland National Park lies on the German border with the Czech Republic. For creative inspiration, you could follow in the footsteps of German romantic painters who captured the park's sculptural rock formations. The Malerweg - or "Painter's Path" - consists of 112 kilometers (70 miles) of hiking trails that lead through otherworldly sandstone columns, crags and canyons.

Travel

Etna: The monster beneath the mountain

In Greek mythology, Typhon, father of all monsters, battled with Zeus until the king of the gods trapped him under Mount Etna. The lava that spits and bubbles from Europe's most active volcano might have you believe Typhon is still waiting for his furious revenge. But volcanoes also make for fertile soils, so Etna National Park is home to some of Sicily's lushest, vineyard-scattered landscapes.

Travel

Plitvice Lakes: Where Winnetou roams

More than a million visitors flock to Croatia's Plitvice National Park each year to see its network of 16 lakes linked by waterfalls, and the travertine limestone they have carved into undulating steps. It also provided a dramatic location for the Winnetou films - Germany's own cowboy movies based on the books of Karl May.

Travel

Tatra: Where bears stalk the forests

A range of the Western Carpathian Mountains, the Tatra Mountains span national parks in Poland and Slovakia. Brown bear, lynx, wolves, chamois and marmots are among the fauna at home in its dense forests and alpine meadows. Its majestic birds of prey - including the lesser spotted eagle - have perhaps the best view of these soaring peaks and glistening lakes.

Travel

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs: Epic vistas

Walter Scott penned his poem "Lady of the Lake" in Trossachs. Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park provide plenty of inspiration for such an epic. Osprey skim the surface of its countless freshwater lakes in search of salmon, while Iron Age hut circles, standing stones, a Viking graveyard and the remains of crannogs - ancient manmade islands - tell tales of Scotland's distant past.

Travel

Gran Paradiso: Haven for the Alpine ibex

Gran Paradiso was Italy's first national park, founded in 1920 to protect the Alpine ibex - then on the brink of extinction. Today, visitors have a fair change of spotting the impressively horned goats in the park's elevated meadows. The bearded vulture, reintroduced 100 years after the last of its species was shot in the park in 1912, looks set to become another restoration success story there.

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Beauty of bicycle tubes

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Culture

Bioplastic Fantastic by Johanna Schmeer

Johanna Schmeer's project explores how enzyme-enhanced bioplastics produce nutrients by being exposed to light. She's among the 30 designers invited to imagine what and how we will eat in the future for the exhibition Food Revolution 5.0: Design for Tomorrow's Society, on until September 30 at Berlin's Kunstgewerbe museum. It shows how our decisions about the food we consume are highly political.

Culture

Sea-Meat Seeweed by Hanan Alkouh

Since cattle farming alone produces more CO2 than driving cars, Kuwaiti designer Hanan Alkouh created a vision for a meat substitute made of seaweed, itself a superfood. To preserve "the theatrics of trade vocations like farmer, slaughterer or butcher," the seaweed was designed to look strikingly similar to a huge piece of meat.

Culture

System Synthetics by Maurizio Montalti

Exploring alternatives to fossil fuels, Italian designer Maurizio Montalti created a transparent system to show how one fungus can break down plastic, while another makes it into bio-ethanol. Here, chopped up rubber duckies demonstrate how micro-organisms can get rid of our waste.

Culture

One Third by Klaus Pichler

Photographer Klaus Pichler's photo project One Third takes its cue from a UN study that found that one third of the world's food goes to waste, while 925 million people are threatened by starvation. These intricate still life photos, including these rotting strawberries, call attention to overconsumption.

Culture

Hare from Mealworm Paste by Carolin Schulze

Hoping to make Europe's disgust of eating insects a thing of the past, artist Carolin Schulze created a rabbit shape out of mealworm paste with the help of a 3D printer. Could such a design have us eating worms — and enjoying them?

Culture

Edible Growth by Chloe Rutzerveld

Another project that makes use of new technology, Chloe Rutzerveld's Edible Growth creates a 3D-printed dough that grows edible fungi in a pleasing form. Rutzerveld calls it a "high-tech but fully natural, healthy and sustainable food."

Culture

Mobile Hospitality by chmara.rosinke

This mobile kitchen was created as a community project to unite 12 strangers who are required to sit together for the 1.5-hour duration of a three-course meal. "We were thinking about how to create a project where we get to know people, and the result was that we need a big table and food," says designer Ania Rosinke.

Culture

Second Livestock by Austin Stewart

Creating a matrix for chickens, this project by American artist Austin Stewart imagines what would happen if industrial livestock were given VR headsets to simulate a happy, free-range farm life.

Culture

Food by Henk Wildschut

A far cry from a quiet life in the countryside, Henk Wildschut's photo series Food provides an inside look at how food is produced. These piglets are among the many animals that spend their lives in such clinical spaces before ending up in grocery stores around the world.

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Travel

Lake Constance, Baden-Württemberg

Germany shares this lake with Switzerland and Austria. At the entrance of Konstanz harbor there is a statue depicting a courtesan with a pope and an emperor in her hands - an allusion to lax morality during the Constance Council six centuries ago. Once controversial, Imperia now features in the city’s advertising campaigns. The statue rotates around its axis once every four minutes.

Travel

Staffelsee, Bavaria

Many lakes in the southern German state of Bavaria have stunning Alpine backdrops. The biggest, Chiemsee, covers an area of over 80 square kilometers. Staffelsee near Murnau is a lot smaller, but it is famous for its light conditions. Members of the Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider), an artists’ group co-founded by Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky, lived and worked nearby.

Travel

Eibsee, Bavaria

Bavaria’s most spectacular mountain lake lies at the foot of Germany’s highest peak, the Zugspitze, at an altitude of 1,000 meters. Eibsee takes its name from the many yew trees that once surrounded it. You can walk around the lake, which is dotted with eight islands and has crystal clear water. The area can also be explored by mountain bike.

Travel

Dauner Maare, Rheinland-Pfalz

Dark blue and generally round in shape - they are known as the "eyes of the Eifel". Maare are lakes that have formed in volcanic craters. The Eifel region has more than 70 crater lakes. There is still some ongoing volcanic activity in the area. Every 30 minutes a geyser in the village of Wallenborn surges out of the ground, forming a three-meter high column of water.

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Fühlinger See, Nordrhein-Westfalen

This man-made lake in the north of Cologne is very popular. There are different areas for a range of water sports. There is even a regatta course. The lake attracts up to 80,000 visitors on hot days. As well as sporting events, such as dragon boat races and triathlons, other events are also held there, such as open air concerts and medieval fairs.

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Bleilochtalsperre, Thüringen

Germany’s biggest reservoir was created when the River Saale was dammed. A 28 kilometers long fjord landscape stretches beyond the 65-meter high dam. You can even take a three-day mini cruise there. The reservoir can hold 215 million cubic meters of water. Construction on the dam began in 1930. Burgk Castle (right) has overlooked the river for almost four centuries.

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Edersee, Hessen

The special thing about this reservoir is that it is part of Kellerwald-Edersee National Park. The surrounding beech woodlands were included on the UNESCO World Natural Heritage list in 2011 - a measure to conserve Europe’s ancient beech forests. Only electric boats are permitted on Edersee. You can dive there among the ruins of villages flooded to make way for the reservoir.

Travel

Lausitzer Seenland, Saxony

Europe’s biggest artificial lake complex is under construction in north-eastern Germany. The process of flooding the former open cast mining area will be completed soon. A chain of lakes will stretch more than 80 kilometers across Brandenburg and Saxony from west to east. Visitors are already flocking to the lakes’ beaches. And there is even floating five-star holiday accommodation.

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Stechlinsee, Brandenburg

The lake was immortalized by the German writer Theodor Fontane who lyrically celebrated its beauty in his last novel called “The Stechlin”. Seventy meters deep and crystal clear, Lake Stechlin or Stechlinsee is a real gem among Brandenburg’s 3,000 or so lakes.

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Müritz, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

The northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has more than 2,000 lakes. The Müritz lies at the heart of its lake district and is Germany’s largest lake. Each year in spring and fall thousands of cranes descend on the Müritz National Park. You can travel from here by boat to Hamburg or Berlin via a complex network of waterways.

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