Karen Jang places flowers on the the grave of her late boyfriend, Vietnam veteran Francis Yee, during her Memorial Day visit to the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, in Dixon, Calif.
Credit Rich Pedroncelli / AP
On the left, field photograph of skeletons (adult, on left; adolescent, on right) during excavation. On the right, a reconstruction of the double burial at the time of inhumation. The bright veneer inside the grave on the right, partially covered by green plants.
Credit E. Gernstein / Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
On the left, impressions of flowering stems in a grave. On the right, flowering stems of Salvia judaica, presented in the same scale and orientation as the impressions in the grave.
Credit E. Gernstein/A. Danin / Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
If you died 55,000 years ago in the lands east of the Mediterranean, you'd be lucky to be buried in an isolated pit with a few animal parts thrown in. But new archaeological evidence shows that by about 12,000 years ago, you might have gotten a flower-lined grave in a small cemetery.
When they proposed it in the 1770s, it was such a novel idea. That instead of a king anointed by God, instead of a sage, instead of one leader telling all of us what to do, we should, every four years, all of us, pick our own leader, who would serve for a season, and then, job done, gently depart.
Nothing like this had been tried for thousands of years. Somehow, together we would be wiser than a single king. We would lead ourselves.
In principle, democracy seems noble, beautiful even.
At my family dinner table, I wondered a little. More than a little.
Humans have long relied on the sense of taste in the struggle to survive and multiply. A bitter taste alerts us to a plant that may be poisonous. A sweet taste tells us that a plant is likely high in calories and can help sustain us.
A man checks the quality of ivory stocks before an auction at the London docks in January 1948.
Credit Popperfoto / Getty Images
President Daniel arap Moi ignites $3 million of elephant ivory and rhino horn confiscated from poachers by Kenya National Park game wardens in Nairobi, Kenya, in October 1989.
Credit Tom Stoddart / Getty Images
Seized elephant tusks are crushed with a steamroller during a ceremony at the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Quezon City, northeast of Manila, Philippines, on June 21.
The value of elephant ivory has skyrocketed in the past few years. That's led to a huge increase in elephant poaching in Africa and, in turn, created new urgency to stop the trade. And as poachers have become savvier, scientists have devised more sophisticated methods of catching the thieves.
A pound of ivory is now worth more than $1,000, with wildlife experts attributing the rise in price largely to consumers, especially in Asia, who have new money to spend on ivory carvings.