National Geographic Magazine November 2021

The latest news in science, exploration, and culture will open your eyes to the world’s many wonders. Get a National Geographic digital magazine subscription today and experience the same high-quality articles and breathtaking photography contained in the print edit.

United States
National Geographic Society
$6.65(Incl. tax)
$25.20(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min
at a purposeful pace through our world

PAUL SALOPEK IS nearly halfway through the most improbable hike imaginable: He is taking a 24,000-mile walk around the world, retracing our ancient ancestors’ journey out of Africa to the tip of South America. So far, he’s been on the road for nearly nine years, trying to see what might be learned about our frenetic world by experiencing it one step at a time. “My aim has been simple,” the twotime Pulitzer Prize winner explains in this issue. “To foot-brake my life, to slow down my thinking, my work, my hours. Unfortunately, the world has had other ideas. Apocalyptic climate crises. Widespread extinctions. Forced human migrations. Populist revolts. A mortal coronavirus.” And earlier this year, in addition to all that, he walked into Myanmar—and straight into a coup. The National Geographic Society…

1 min
child of the stars


2 min
the backstory

ONE DAY ON A WHIM, photographer River Claure googled “Bolivia.” That image search yielded expected tropes of his country: llamas, mountains, people in traditional dress. Photographs are often taken through an exoticizing foreign gaze, as if Andean cultures are frozen in time, Claure says. In reality, the cultures are evolving and thriving in today’s changing world. Later, Claure thought more about this—how the images affected his view of himself, of his homeland—as he read the English version of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince. Then he began to question: What if one of history’s most widely read children’s books unfolded not in the Sahara desert but in the Andes Mountains? And what if the story’s main character, rather than a blond prince, was a dark-haired Andean child? In The Little Prince, we…

14 min
dr. fauci: his life and work

IN THIS SECTION New Human Species? Animals in Space Lost River of Paris Feather Forensics ILLUMINATING THE MYSTERIES—AND WONDERS—ALL AROUND US EVERY DAY Excerpts from the National Geographic book Fauci—Expect the Unexpected: Ten Lessons on Truth, Service, and the Way Forward I WAS BORN ON Christmas Eve, 1940. As my father tells the tale … the obstetrician who was taking my mother through her pregnancy happened to have been at a black-tie cocktail party. And when my mother went into labor, apparently it was pretty quick. My father brought her to Brooklyn Hospital, and he remembers the doctor walking in with a tux on. He had to get into the delivery room very quickly, so he just washed his hands and put the scrubs over the tux … We always joked about it at…

1 min
these bees bed down in blooms

Where globe mallow plants bloom in the western United States, you’ll often find a species of bee that shares the plant’s name and taps it for food. Nature photographers Joe and Niccole Neely were walking in an Arizona field when they saw the bees’ other use for the blooms: as crash pads. Globe mallow bees don’t make hives; females sleep in ground nests, males on plants. Near sunset, the Neelys saw bees enter one flower after another. “They’d just kind of crawl in and plop over,” Joe says. And when one more bee alighted and saw all blooms occupied, it converted a single into a double.…

1 min
who was ‘dragon man’?

NEARLY 90 YEARS AFTER it was hidden at the bottom of an abandoned well, a stunningly preserved skull is getting its day in the sun. The artifact may represent a new human species: Homo longi, aka “dragon man” (reconstruction above). At least 146,000 years old, the cranium sports a mash-up of ancient and modern features that show it’s closely related to us—even more so than Neanderthals, some researchers say. “I’ve held a lot of other human skulls and fossils, but never like this,” says study co-author Xijun Ni, a paleoanthropologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Yet dragon man is stirring debate, with some experts suggesting it could be a Denisovan, a mysterious Neanderthal sister group represented by scant fossils. No matter its identity, the skull underscores just how tangled…