78 episodes

Come dive into one of the curiously delightful conversations overheard at National Geographic’s headquarters, as we follow explorers, photographers, and scientists to the edges of our big, weird, beautiful world. Hosted by Peter Gwin and Amy Briggs.

Overheard at National Geographic National Geographic

    • Science
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Come dive into one of the curiously delightful conversations overheard at National Geographic’s headquarters, as we follow explorers, photographers, and scientists to the edges of our big, weird, beautiful world. Hosted by Peter Gwin and Amy Briggs.

    Kenya's Wildlife Warriors

    Kenya's Wildlife Warriors

    In the heart of the Serengeti, hippos bathe and hyenas snatch food from hungry lions. National Geographic Explorer of the Year Paula Kahumbu brings this world to life in her documentary series Wildlife Warriors, a nature show made by Kenyans for Kenyans. Host Peter Gwin meets up with Paula in the Serengeti to learn how she became an unlikely TV star, and why it’s up to local wildlife warriors—not foreign scientists or tourists—to preserve Africa’s wild landscapes.
    For more info on this episode, visit natgeo.com/overheard
    Want more?
    See the Serengeti like never before in the December 2021 issue of National Geographic. Along with heart-stopping wildlife photos, subscribers can go inside the planet’s largest animal migration: the perilous 400-mile circuit of the wildebeest.
    Subscribers can also meet a Maasai spiritual leader who protects a remote mountain forest, and read Paula Kahumbu’s essay on the future of African conservation.
    Don’t miss Welcome to Earth, a Disney+ original series from National Geographic, where Will Smith is led on an epic adventure around the world to explore Earth’s greatest wonders, including the Serengeti. All six episodes stream December 8th, only on Disney+.
    Also explore:
    Watch episodes of Wildlife Warriors on its YouTube channel, WildlifeWarriorsTV.
    Learn more about the wildlife that makes the Serengeti irreplaceable. African elephants are “ecosystem engineers” who shape their own habitat. Hippopotamuses spend up to 16 hours a day submerged in water—that’s why their name comes from the Greek for “river horse.”
    If you like what you hear and want to support more content like this, please consider a National Geographic subscription. Go to natgeo.com/explore to subscribe today.

    • 28 min
    The Gateway to Secret Underwater Worlds

    The Gateway to Secret Underwater Worlds

    When Jacques Cousteau was young, an accident sent him on a path that led him to invent scuba, opening up the underwater world to humans. Today, explorers David Doubilet and Laurent Ballesta follow in his footsteps, making discoveries on their own amazing and sometimes terrifying adventures.
    For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard. 
    Want more?
    Learn more about Jacques Cousteau. From National Geographic Documentary Films, Becoming Cousteau is now streaming on Disney+.
    See more of Laurent Ballesta’s photographs, including an image he took of a grouper mating frenzy that recently won him the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award from the London Natural History Museum. 
    Also explore: 
    David Doubilet has been taking photos for Nat Geo for decades. If you want a list of his greatest hits, check out our article “32 Astonishing Photos of A Career Spent Underwater.” 
    And check out his new book out this month with some spectacular underwater images. It’s called “Two Worlds: Above and Below the Sea.”
    For subscribers: 
    For Nat Geo subscribers, you can also read about the time Laurent and a small crew of explorers spent 28 days living underwater in the Mediterranean Sea.  
    If you like what you hear and want to support more content like this, please rate and review us in your podcast app and consider a National Geographic subscription. That’s the best way to support Overheard. Go to natgeo.com/explore to subscribe.

    • 30 min
    Ancient Orchestra

    Ancient Orchestra

    Sound on! From conch shells to bone flutes, humans have been making musical instruments for tens of thousands of years. What did prehistoric music sound like? Follow us on a journey to find the oldest musical instruments and combine them into one big orchestra of human history.

    For more information on this episode, visit natgeo.com/overheard 

    Want More?

    A conch is more than just a musical instrument. A mollusk lives in that shell, and it’s a staple food in the Bahamas—so much so that overfishing is threatening their existence, but a few simple solutions may solve the problem.

    The oldest musical instrument was once thought to be a cave bear bone flute made by Neanderthals, but recent evidence suggests that the holes were made by animals rather than tools.

    More information about each instrument

    The organization First Sounds found and brought to life the recordings of Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville. For more information about that project, please visit www.firstsounds.org.

    Bettina Joy de Guzman travels the world, composing and performing music on ancient instruments. You can read more about her work on her website: www.bettinajoydeguzman.com

    More information about the bells of Bronze Age China can be found at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art. A virtual version of their collection can be viewed here: https://asia.si.edu/exhibition/resound-ancient-bells-of-china/
    (Credit: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; gift of Arthur M. Sackler, S1987.4-9)

    The conch shell sounds you heard were research recordings of the approximately 3,000-year-old Titanostrombus galeatus conch shell horn—excavated in 2018 by John Rick and team from the UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site Chavín de Huántar, in Perú—from a 2019 acoustics and performance study by Miriam Kolar, Riemann Ramírez Rodríguez, Ricardo Guerrero de Luna Rueda, Obert Silva Espinoza, and Ronald San Miguel Fernández. Recordings were made at the Centro Internacional de Investigación, Conservación y Restauración de Chavín (CIICR) in the Museo Nacional Chavín as research conducted within the Programa de Investigación Arqueológica y Conservación Chavín de Huántar (PIACCdH). Site music archaeology and archaeoacoustics research information can be found on the Chavín de Huántar Archaeological Acoustics project website: https://ccrma.stanford.edu/groups/chavin/pututus.html.

    National Geographic Explorer Jahawi Bertolli is collecting the sounds of rock gongs from all over the African continent. More information about his rock project can be found here: www.jahawi.com/first-rock

    Flutist Anna Potengowski specializes in recreating the sounds of ancient flutes. You can hear more of her work here: open.spotify.com/artist/4a9uIQ2g8A5BIDN1VExUZq

    • 29 min
    When Family Secrets (And Soap Operas) Fuel Creativity

    When Family Secrets (And Soap Operas) Fuel Creativity

    National Geographic photographer Diana Markosian tells us about her remarkable childhood and how her career as a photographer led her into the war in Chechnya—and eventually to her long-lost father’s doorstep in Armenia.
    For more info on this episode, visit natgeo.com/overheard

    Want More?  
    Check out Diana’s film Santa Barbara, which is showing at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art until Dec. 12 and the International Center of Photography until Jan. 10.
    Read her account of finding her father, grandfather, and a piece of herself in Armenia. 
    And to see more of her photos, follow her on Instagram @markosian.

    For subscribers: 
    See Diana’s photographs showing how a Wisconsin high school graduated its seniors in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    And her portraits of a small town in Oregon that was destroyed by wildfires in September 2020 and a resident who lost her home.  
    If you like what you hear and want to support more content like this, please consider a National Geographic subscription. Go to natgeo.com/explore to subscribe today.

    • 24 min
    Modern Lives, Ancient Caves

    Modern Lives, Ancient Caves

    There's a lost continent waiting to be explored, and it’s right below our feet. We’ll dig into the deep, human relationship to the underground, and why we understand it from an instinctive point of view — but not so much from a physical one. (Hint: we’re afraid of the dark.) National Geographic photographer, Tamara Merino, will take us subterranean in Utah, Australia, and Spain where modern-day cave dwellers teach us how to escape the heat.  

    For more information on this episode, visit natgeo.com/overheard 

    Want more?
    Go belowground with National Geographic Explorer Tamara Merino to see how these communities have been living—quite comfortably—for a very long time. 

    In Vietnam photojournalist and National Geographic Explorer Martin Edström created 360 images of the world’s largest cave, Son Doong. It’s so big that a forest grows inside of it.

    Ever zip-line to a remote island? Cartographers did, 30 miles west of San Francisco. What did they see when they mapped the hard-to-reach landform known as the Farallon Islands? Caves.

    China is home to some of the most intricate cave systems on the planet. These explorers used a laser scanner to capture never before seen images of undocumented caves.

    Also explore:
    South Dakota is famous among cavers for its web of cave mazes. Take a look at what they’ve found under the Black Hills.

    • 29 min
    A Skeptic's Guide to Loving Bats

    A Skeptic's Guide to Loving Bats

    Blood-sucking villains. Spooky specters of the night. Our views of bats are often based more on fiction than fact. Enter National Geographic Explorer at Large Rodrigo Medellín, aka the Bat Man of Mexico. For decades he’s waged a charm offensive to show the world how much we need bats, from the clothes we wear to a sip of tequila at the end of a long day. Now, as the COVID-19 pandemic causes even more harmful bat myths, the world must once again realize that bats may not be the hero everyone wants—but they’re the hero we need.

    For more info on this episode, visit natgeo.com/overheard

    Want more?

    See how Rodrigo uses a multi-pronged approach—involving field research, conservation, and tequila—to help protect bats.

    In a Nat Geo short film, Rodrigo ventures into an ancient Mayan ruin to find two rare species of vampire bat.

    Curious about the connection between bats and COVID-19? Explore why it’s so tricky to trace the disease’s origins. 

    Also explore:
    Learn more about bats: They can be found nearly everywhere on Earth and range in size from lighter than a penny to a six-foot wingspan.  

    Why do bats get a bad rap? See how Spanish conquistadors and Dracula convinced us bats are more fright than friend.

    Bat myths have real-world consequences. In Mauritius, a government campaign culled tens of thousands of endangered fruit bats.

    For more bat info, follow Rodrigo on Instagram @batmanmedellin

    And for paid subscribers:
    Step inside Borneo’s limestone caves, some of the largest and wildest on Earth—and home to to millions of bats.

    If you like what you hear and want to support more content like this, please consider a National Geographic subscription. Go to natgeo.com/explore to subscribe today.

    • 29 min

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