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Overheard at National Geographic

Author: National Geographic

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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.

28 Episodes
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A new weekly podcast from National Geographic. We talk with explorers and scientists who are uncovering amazing stories at the edges of our wild and wonderful world. New episodes every Tuesday, starting June 11.
Humpback Hit Factory

Humpback Hit Factory

2019-06-1119:24

There's a humpback whale song sensation that's sweeping the South Pacific. We'll learn about the burgeoning study of "whale culture"-and why these super smart cetaceans may have a lot more in common with us than we'd ever imagined. For more information on this episode visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard. Want more? Meet National Geographic Photographer Brian Skerry, and see examples of his work beneath the waves. Read Ellen Garland's original paper on whale song transmission, and listen to the humpback audio recordings that helped her piece this phenomenon together. Here's the backstory behind those whale songs you heard at the top of the show, from Roger Payne's Songs of the Humpback Whale. Also explore: Sperm whales in the Caribbean form clans that have their own unique dialects-and thus culture. Video: Off the coast of Argentina, seasoned killer whales hunt sea lion pups. Whale song recordings off Hawaii have revealed a strange series of deep beats almost inaudible to humans. An unusual number of humpback whales are dying along the U.S. East Coast, and scientists are racing to figure out why. Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
Most parents see lying as a cause for worry or reprimand. But some experts suggest lying at a young age could be a welcome sign of childhood development. So what does lying tell us about human cognition? For more information on this episode visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want More? Read writer Yudhijit Bhattacharrjee's magazine story on why we lie, and what it says about us. Watch: Why science says it's good for kids to lie. Learn more about researcher Kang Lee's work. Read about Charles Darwin's report on his son, Doddy. Also explore: Do you lie more or less than the average person? Take this quiz to find out. Meet history's most notorious liars. These are the best liars of the animal world. Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
Bringers of plague, schleppers of pizza slices, garbage gobblers. Rats have adapted over the millennia to survive and thrive in human company, much to our amazement and (often) disgust. But love them or hate them, our past and our future is bound up with these little hustlers. For more information on this episode visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want More? Read Emma Marris's magazine story on how rats have become a global, inescapable part of city life. Yes, rats really can wriggle up toilets. Learn more about their "ninja" skills. Rats can remember who's nice to them, and return the favor, reports a study on their surprisingly complex social behavior. Also explore: Are rats really to blame for the Medieval "black death" plagues? These scientists have a different theory. Rats remain a popular food in Vietnam. Learn why. Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
One of National Geographic's writers was hard to pin down for a while. That's because she was in Sudan, scuba diving underneath a pyramid. We had so many questions for her-especially once she shared with us that the contents of the pyramid could fundamentally change what we understand about ancient Egypt's 25th dynasty. For more information on this episode visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? Read Kristin Romey's piece, and watch a video of what it's like to go scuba diving under a pyramid at Nuri. Learn more about the Kingdom of Kush in what is now Sudan, a rival to ancient Egypt awash in gold and power. Also explore: Read about the mysterious void discovered in Egypt's Great Pyramid. Learn how illegal tomb raiders are stealing the world's history. Watch: Ancient Egypt 101 Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
Mice on the sub-Antarctic Marion Island are out for blood, and they're feasting, zombie-style, on living, immature albatrosses. Turns out, these tiny mammals are a very big threat to these huge seabirds. One photographer says it was more intense than watching the first four seasons of The Walking Dead. For more information on this episode visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? Want to see the zombie mice of Marion Island yourself? You can see photos and video here, but beware, some may find the footage disturbing. Meet National Geographic Photographer Thomas Peschak, and see more of his work. Read more about Peschak's experience documenting these ravenous mice (warning: the photos and video are graphic). Also explore: This other island has been declared rat-free thanks to a conservation effort. Learn more about the global migratory bird crisis. Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
The Harem Conspiracy

The Harem Conspiracy

2019-07-1623:19

Murder, succession, and a 18-foot scroll of papyrus that reads like an ancient Egyptian episode of Law and Order. We get the lowdown on the Judicial Papyrus of Turin. For more information on this episode visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want More? Read about the bloody coup described in the Judicial Papyrus of Turin, as well as other poignant examples of law and order in ancient Egypt. Learn more about the Queens of Egypt exhibition at the National Geographic Museum. Also Explore: Explore the Book of the Dead, ancient Egypt's guide to the underworld. See the artifacts that honor Egypt's powerful queens. Test your knowledge of ancient Egypt. Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
The Glass Stratosphere

The Glass Stratosphere

2019-07-2324:32

What if women had been among the first to head to the moon? A NASA physician thought that wasn't such a far fetched idea back in the 1960s. He developed the physical and psychological tests used to select NASA's first male astronauts, and ran those same test on women, who thought their performance punched their ticket to the moon. We'll hear about what happened from two of the women involved. For more information on this episode visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want More? Read why some scientists think the future of spaceflight should be female. Also Explore: Meet the people who got us to space and the pioneers pushing us farther. Explore the never-used Soviet space shuttles rusting in a hangar in Kazakhstan. See Nat Geo editors' favorite space photos. Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
Honeybee Chop Shop

Honeybee Chop Shop

2019-07-3020:16

What is a honeybee chop shop, and why do they exist? Turns out the answer has everything to do with the food on our tables. We dig into the sticky business of beekeeping and commercial agriculture. For more information on this episode visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard. Want More? Read more about the seriously sticky problem of honeybee theft. Also Explore: Watch an amazing time-lapse of bees hatching. See how honeybees are each assigned their distinct jobs. Read about an unlikely feud between Maya beekeepers and Mennonites in Mexico. Learn more about honeybees. Without insects, we might all die, argues this author. Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
Exploring the ancient Maya Cave of the Jaguar God. The graffiti of Pompeii. Searching for alien life underground. New season of Overheard at National Geographic starting October 15th.
Digging Up Disaster

Digging Up Disaster

2019-10-1524:20

How did an ancient Roman harbor end up in ruins? Scientists realized the culprit was a long-forgotten natural disaster that left tell-tale geological clues -- and possibly an eyewitness account in an ancient religious text. But solving this mystery led to a bigger question: what if it happens again? For more information on this episode visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? Learn about the science of tsunamis -- including why Indonesia may be due for another big one. Could earthquakes explain some biblical stories? Scientists matched a tale of "fire and brimstone" with geological records of Israel's seismic history. A surprise tsunami in 2018 was far worse than early-warning systems expected. Here's what we're learning about different types of earthquakes. Also explore: A forgotten, 600-year-old tsunami explains the rise of a powerful Islamic kingdom. More about Beverly Goodman and her work at the Charney School of Marine Sciences. And want to learn more about the Talmud? Henry Abramson helps teach it, one page a day. Scientists didn't know an area in Mexico was prone to big earthquakes - until they factored in centuries-old Aztec records. Got something to say? Contact us: overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
The Alien Underground

The Alien Underground

2019-10-2225:45

Half a mile below the surface of the earth, in a cave too hot to explore without an ice-packed suit, NASA scientist and Nat Geo explorer Penny Boston clambers around glassy crystals that are taller than telephone poles and wider than dinner tables. But it's not The Crystal Cave's grandeur she's interested in -- it's what may be hibernating inside the crystals. Astrobiologists like Penny Boston scour the Earth's most hostile environments for microorganisms, to see if they hold clues to what life might look like on other planets - maybe even planets in our solar system. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want More? Hear Penny Boston speak on stage about her search for extremophiles all over the world. Inside the Cave of Crystals, Penny Boston discovered organisms that have been alive for tens of thousands of years, trapped inside the crystals. Kevin Hand has been eager to search for life on Europa for a long time. He's been testing robots in the arctic to see if they can withstand the extreme conditions there. Europa isn't the only planet with the potential for life. Europa isn't the only planet with the potential for life. Scientists are hunting the galaxy for other planets that are just the right size and temperature. It turns out there may be billions of them. Also explore: Watch President Bill Clinton give a speech about the Allan Hills meteorite - a rock from Mars that looked like it might contain fossilized life. You can see a photo of the strange shapes in the Allan Hills meteorite and read more about why scientists thought those shapes might be signs of life. Penny Boston is the director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. They're working hard to study what alien life might be like. Kevin Hand is part of a team of scientists who are building the Europa Clipper - a probe designed to search the moon orbiting Jupiter for the right conditions for life. Europa has a huge liquid water ocean. Here's more information from Kevin Hand about why that ocean might be inhabited. Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
What do tigers, sloths, elephants and bears have in common? They're all part of the incredibly lucrative captive wildlife tourism industry. Travelers from around the world clamor for opportunities to pose with these magnificent creatures and get that perfect selfie. This week - we look at the complicated nature of elephant tourism in Thailand. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want More? Read Natasha's cover story on wildlife tourism to learn more about the global industry. Learn more about Ban Ta Klang the "elephant village" at the center of Thailand's captive elephant trade. Want to know how to approach wildlife tourism in a way that's better for animals? We've got some tips on how to make sure you're having an ethical encounter. Why do people risk their lives for animal selfies? Natasha talked with psychologists to find out. Learn more about Puerto Alegria - a Peruvian town on the banks of the Amazon that was once a hotbed of wildlife tourism. Also Explore Get some tips from National Geographic photographers on how to photograph wild animals ethically. Learn more about Think Elephants International, the organization that Joshua Plotnik co-founded. The advocacy group World Animal Protection studied the impact of wildlife selfies in the Amazon. Read more about what they found. Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
Cave of the Jaguar God

Cave of the Jaguar God

2019-11-0526:53

Crawl into the Maya underworld, where science meets spirits, shamans, and snakes. A long-forgotten cave could shed light on one of history's most enduring questions: why did the ancient Maya collapse? For more information on this episode, visit https://www.nationalgeographic.com/podcasts/overheard Want more? See the incense burners, plates and grinding stones found in the Cave of the Jaguar God. Learn how Guillermo de Anda uses ground-penetrating radar and other high-tech tools to investigate Chichen Itza. Read about jaguars and their place as the divine feline in Mesoamerican cultures. Also explore: Travel inside the world's longest underwater cave system -- spanning 215 miles underneath the Yucatan Peninsula. What can you find inside the longest underwater cave? Remains of ice age giant sloths and an ancient relative of the elephant. Check out more of Guillermo's work through the Great Maya Aquifer Project. Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
March of the Beaver

March of the Beaver

2019-11-1217:15

The desolate Alaskan tundra - a landscape that has literally been frozen solid for thousands of years - is suddenly caving in on itself. Colonizing beavers are engineering new wetlands that thaw the soil, rapidly releasing greenhouse methane into the atmosphere. Beavers can survive in the arctic because - like people - they change the environment to make homes for themselves, and their carbon footprint can be seen from space. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want More? Permafrost covers an area more than twice the size of the United States. Read about why it's thawing faster than we expected. There are drunken trees in forests across Alaska, Canada and northern Eurasia. Check out pictures of some drunken forests. Ben Goldfarb believes that beavers aren't only not to blame for climate change, they're actually helping fight against it. Also explore: Not only is methane a greenhouse gas, it's also flammable. Watch Katey Walter Anthony set frozen lakes on fire. Ever wonder why beavers make such great hats? And why they eventually went out of style? Wonder no more. Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
The Aquarius Project

The Aquarius Project

2019-11-1924:40

A fireball from outer space crashed into one of Earth's biggest lakes. Scientists didn't know how to find it. So, they called in just the right people for the job -- an actor and a bunch of teenagers. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/podcasts/overheard. Want more? See eyewitness reports and videos from the February 2017 fireball that sparked the Aquarius Project. The Aquarius Project is no longer the only group to look for a meteorite in a massive body of water. Using a similar method, a NASA scientist recovered meteorite fragments from the ocean floor off the Washington coast. Read about other extraordinary lengths people take to find meteorites -- like the explorer, fueled by reindeer milk, who trudged deep into Siberia to find the site of a monstrous meteor impact. Meet the only person in recorded human history to be struck by a meteorite. Also explore: Almost all meteorites originate from our solar system. But scientists discovered one interstellar interloper that may have slammed into earth. Nearly 50 tons of space debris hit Earth every day. Watch Meteor Showers 101. Listen to the Adler Planetarium's podcast series chronicling the Aquarius Project. Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
Social Media is not just for modern folk. In ancient Pompeii, people also shared what they thought, who they met with, what they ate... It's just, they had to use different technology. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? Pompeii is not just an archaeological site, it's one huge graveyard. But it was very much a living city right up until it was snuffed out by Mt. Vesuvius. When you think of an avalanche, you probably think of snow. But volcanoes also cause avalanches. Archaeologists believe that it was an avalanche of rocketing, boiling gas and sediment that cooked Pompeiians alive in 79 A.D. In the late 1800s, archaeologists started pouring plaster into voids left in the hardened volcanic ash covering Pompeii. The result? Full-sized casts of Vesuvius' victims -- human and otherwise. Do you live in the shadow of a volcano? Here are a few safety tips for when that telltale rumbling begins. Could Chernobyl be our contemporary version of Pompeii? Some archaeologists think so. Also explore: Curious about how Pompeii's graffiti compares to the stuff in your own backyard? Check out imagines of ancient Pompeiian graffiti at the Ancient Graffiti Project. Vesuvius will erupt again. The question is when, and what will Pompeiians do when it does? Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
The Frozen Zoo

The Frozen Zoo

2019-12-1024:29

Right now, one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. Conservation scientists are doing whatever they can to save them, or at least of piece of them. For the last 45 years, a team of researchers at the San Diego Zoo has been freezing the cells of endangered animals. With these time capsules of DNA, researchers continue to study endangered animals, and hope to maybe even bring some back from the brink of extinction. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale has covered conflict and nature. She was with Sudan when he died and she believes that the survival of creatures like the northern white rhino is intertwined with our own. Move over, Noah. Joel Sartore is building his own ark - out of photographs. He's on a decades-long mission to take portraits of more than 15,000 endangered species before it's too late. Stuart Pimm has a lot more to say about species revival. In this editorial he makes a case against de-extinction - and explains why bringing back extinct creatures could do more harm than good. It's been a long time since Jurassic Park hit theaters. Today, our revival technology straddles the line between science fact and science fiction - but do we want to go there? Also explore: Read Kate Gammon's original reporting for InsideScience, which inspired this conversation here at Overheard HQ. Want to dive further into the debate? Hear George Church's talk - and talks by some of the greatest minds in conservation - at the TedxDeExtinction conference. The Frozen Zoo is working on a lot of exciting research that didn't make it into the episode. For example, they've already managed to turn rhino skin cells into beating heart cells. To learn more about what they're up to, check out the San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research for yourself. Some of the most promising applications for the Frozen Zoo come from new technology that lets us turn one kind of cell into any other kind of cell. Read more about the first mouse that was created from skin cells. Got something to say? Contact us! overheard@natgeo.com Click here to give us feedback on Overheard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/snoverheard
The Virus Hunter

The Virus Hunter

2020-04-2816:451

Coronaviruses aren't new. For more than 20 years, German virologist Rolf Hilgenfeld has been looking for ways to slow or stop the virus. What does it take to find a treatment for coronaviruses, and what might that mean for the future of COVID-19? For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? Rolf Hilgenfeld is one of the many people who are trying to test and develop medicine for COVID-19. Nat Geo reporter Michael Greshko has put together an article explaining the other approaches out there. On our Coronavirus Coverage page you can find National Geographic's most up-to-date articles on the pandemic, including news and explanations of the science. On that page, other articles provide new perspectives, such as how astronauts handle social isolation, and what people used to do before toilet paper was invented. And if you've had too much news about the pandemic, Nat Geo has put together a new newsletter called Escape, full of awe-inspiring pictures, compelling stories, and no COVID-19 updates whatsoever. Also explore: If you'd like to dive deeper into the antiviral compound Rolf Hilgenfeld has been developing, check out the research paper. The CDC website is the best source for new information about COVID-19 and how you can stay safe and keep others around you safe. Got something to say? Contact us: overheard@natgeo.com
Overheard Season 3

Overheard Season 3

2020-06-1001:34

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.
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Comments (64)

Irene Alegria

love it!

Jul 23rd
Reply

James Cardilla

another one

Jul 16th
Reply

Fay Geurts

Love the stories, they are truly unique! I love NatGeo, the subjects, stories, and people you find. For the sake of storytelling, I do have a small suggestion, I would suggest ending the episodes with a bit more engaging conclusions. Things like what the story means for the future, in the big picture, or a question that keeps you thinking about the subject after you've finished the podcast.

Jul 2nd
Reply

Christine Globokar

So interesting, I LOVE THIS PODCAST!

Jun 15th
Reply

Mieke Tackett

yay! we are excited for season 3. thank you for putting out a great podcast that my whole family LOVES!

Jun 13th
Reply

Brooke

Thank you for coming back!

May 1st
Reply

Sonali Shinde

woww!! this was great podcast!! I enjoyed and learned a lott!! :)

Apr 27th
Reply (1)

S G

This is insane

Apr 25th
Reply

POSEIDON

Awesome work.check it out, its like hearing nat geo documentary

Apr 16th
Reply

wyatt bagwell

I really like the podcast. When is National Geographic going to make another season?

Apr 9th
Reply

Kirstin S.

Rats are the most precious little creatures! people who are disgusted by them need therapy, how does that feel to hear lol

Mar 4th
Reply

Yolanda Fernandez

I love this podcast. I love learning about the world and animals through this.

Feb 20th
Reply

Patricia Nascu

lots to learn from this episode

Feb 8th
Reply

Josephine Maguire

Rebecca's passion can be heard in her voice. At one point the emotion in her voice was raw. Really loved this episode

Feb 4th
Reply

obsidianhoax

watch Nat Geo's Lost Treasures of thr Maya, episode 2 to see this episode in action. its now on Disney Plus

Nov 20th
Reply (1)

Xiyan Han

wow

Nov 19th
Reply

Xiyan Han

wow

Nov 19th
Reply

Accordionbabe

Links to video send you to delays and unrelated videos? That way you use up your limited views. NatGeo historically lousy website.

Nov 5th
Reply

Hunter Mathis

I love this podcast! Can't wait to see where it goes.

Nov 5th
Reply

Lucy K

excellent story.

Oct 30th
Reply
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